Up to $5.3 million in funding available for Grants to Non-profit Lenders

Source: Washington Department of Commerce, June 15, 2021

Commerce has announced a Request for Applications (RFA) for non-profit lenders interested in operating a revolving loan fund program.

Through the Clean Energy Fund, Commerce provides grants to non-profit lenders who connect small businesses, non-profits, multi-family building owners, and homeowners with low cost financing for clean energy projects. Grants provided through this program support revolving loan funds that help to reduce risk and provide inexpensive capital for underserved markets to deploy clean energy projects.

The Clean Energy Transformation Act of 2019 (CETA) requires Washington state to transition to 100% clean electricity. It also requires that the transition be equitable, benefitting and reducing burdens to communities highly impacted by climate change. The 2021 State Energy Strategy identifies public investment as an important part of achieving that equitable transition.

A total of $5,329,000 in funding is available for eligible applicants and Commerce will make multiple awards.

Qualifying applicants must be non-profit lenders including but not limited to:

  • Community Development Financial Institutions as certified by CDFI Fund, US Treasury Department
  • Credit Unions
  • State conduit financing entities like the Housing Finance Commission
  • Tribal Lending Enterprises

CEF Grants to Non-profit Lenders goals include the following:

  • Ensure that lending plays a role in economic recovery efforts and the transition to clean energy
  • Support the 2021 State Energy Strategy
  • Support energy efficiency and renewable energy market growth
  • Provide access for vulnerable populations and Tribal communities to benefit from and/or participate directly in the clean energy transition

The allowable uses of funds for this program include, but are not limited to the following energy efficiency and renewable energy project types: 

  • Residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural energy retrofits
  • Residential and community-scale solar installations
  • Anaerobic digesters to treat dairy and organic waste

Applications must be received by 5 p.m. on July 27, 2021.

More information, including examples of past projects and all application material, is available on Commerce’s CEF Grants to Nonprofit Lenders Program  webpage.