Grants and Funding Programs

Informational Resources and Guides
Tools and Calculators
Grants and Funding Programs


California Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs)

California IOU’s are required by the California Public Utilities Commission to offer energy efficiency programs to their customers. Each IOU program is unique; generally the programs offer rebates, financing assistance, design assistance, educational seminars, and other forms of assistance. Rebates are typically a set amount of financial assistance for a specific energy efficiency technology though most utilities also offer custom rebate programs that are more flexible. Learn more about each IOU’s assistance directed at Local Governments by clicking on the links below for your energy service provider(s).

Some energy utilities offer On-Bill Financing (OBF) in conjunction to their incentive programs. OBF offers eligible customers (including local governments) zero-percent financing for qualifying energy-efficiency improvements. The loan payments are made to the energy utility and appear as additional charges on each facility’s utility bill. Examples of OBF programs include those offered by Southern California Gas and San Diego Gas and Electric (both allow up to $250,000 per facility).

If your community is not served by one of the IOU’s listed above, contact your energy service provider for more information on their energy efficiency programs and On-Bill Financing.

Local Water Agencies
Most local water agencies provide tips on water conservation and rebates for water saving technologies. While rebates vary across each water agency, local governments can take advantage of many of these programs including incentives for installing low flow toilets and efficient landscape irrigation systems. Check with your local water utility as each is different. Some examples of conservation programs include those run by Metropolitan water District of Southern California, Santa Clara Valley Water District, and East Bay Municipal Utility District. Some water agencies also provide recycled water to customers as a more sustainable way to supply non-potable uses such as toilet flushing and landscape irrigation. Recycled water often costs less than drinking water saving money while providing a sustainable supply. Contact your local water agency to see if they provide recycled water.
California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC)

The CPUC regulates privately owned electric, natural gas, water, and transit companies in California to ensure the provision of safe, reliable utility service and infrastructure. Two of the CPUC’s programs offer significant funding opportunities for local government sustainability efforts.

Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Financing
California allows local governments to set up loans for renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements to be paid back through property tax payments over a 20-year period. The loans carry a fixed interest rate and stay with the property, if the tenant or owner moves, the next tenant or owner continues to pay for the loan through property taxes. The DOE offers a guide for local governments on PACE financing. Read about the City of Berkeley’s program, the first city to offer PACE programs.
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)
The DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) operates most of DOE’s sustainability programs. EERE invests in clean energy technologies that strengthen the economy, protect the environment, and reduce dependence on foreign oil. The Solar America Cities program provides a guide book that introduces a range of policy and program options that can help local governments build a sustainable local solar infrastructure and market. The Clean Cities program providing access to information and incentives from federal agencies and industry partners for high-impact projects.
Strategic Growth Council (SGC)
The SGC is tasked with coordinating the sustainable growth activities of multiple state agencies. Among the SGC’s tasks are to assist state and local entities in the planning of sustainable communities and meeting AB 32 goals. This includes providing SGC Grants for sustainable community planning, urban greening, and modeling. Other tasks of the SGC include: improving air and water quality, protecting natural resource and agriculture lands, increasing the availability of affordable housing, improving infrastructure systems, and promoting public health.
Partnership for Sustainable Communities
The Partnership for Sustainable Communities is an alliance between the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Transportation, and Environmental Protection Agency. The partnership aims to improve access to affordable housing, more transportation options, and lower transportation costs while protecting the environment in communities nationwide. The partnership seeks to integrate housing, transportation, water infrastructure, and land use planning and investment. HUD, EPA, and DOT propose to make planning grants available to metropolitan areas and create mechanisms to ensure those plans are carried through to localities. Funding is available for Sustainable Communities Planning and Urban Circulator Projects.
California Statewide Communities Development Authority (CSCDA)
CSCDA’s mission is to provide local governments and private entities access to low-cost, tax-exempt financing for projects that provide a tangible public benefit, contribute to social and economic growth and improve the overall quality of life in local communities throughout California. Resources help local governments to finance equipment and real estate, road repairs, and capital improvements to water, wastewater, and sewer facilities.

Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle)

CalRecycle is a new department within the California Natural Resources Agency and administers California’s recycling and waste reduction efforts. CalRecycle offers several grant programs to assist local governments. The Reuse Assistance Grant Program promote the reuse of nonhazardous materials, the most recent funding cycle has yet to start. The Beverage Container Recycling Grant Program offers funding to municipalities to increase recycling in the community; however, funding has been postponed until further notice.
California Department of Conservation
The California Farmland Conservancy Program seeks to encourage the long-term, private stewardship of agricultural lands through the voluntary use of agricultural conservation easements. The program provides grant funding for projects which use and support agricultural conservation easements for protection of agricultural lands.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
The mission of the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities is to create strong, sustainable communities by connecting housing to jobs, fostering local innovation, and helping to build a clean energy economy. Community Development Block Grant Program from HUD offer funding to create affordable housing for low-income households and encourages the use of energy-efficient and environmentally friendly designs through this program. Sustainable Communities Planning Grants are also available though it’s Sustainable Housing and Communities Program.

Federal Transit Administration (FTA)

The FTA provides resources on sustainable communities and Transit Oriented Development (TOD). Resources include access to TOD Resources and Training free of charge to local government employees. The FTA’s Livable and Sustainable Communities program supports initiatives that demonstrate ways to improve the link between public transit and communities. FTA’s Livability Grant Program offers funding to communities for the opportunity to create these accessible, livable, and sustainable communities.
California Alternative Energy & Advanced Transportation Financing Authority (CAEATFA)
Provides financing for facilities that use alternative energy sources and technologies. CAEATFA offers financing for facilities needed to develop and commercialize advanced transportation technologies that conserve energy, reduce air pollution, and promote economic development and jobs. CAEATFA is able to issue tax-exempt and taxable bonds for projects that qualify. CAEATFA financing costs are lower than conventional financing costs as the interest on the bonds is exempt from federal and state taxes.
Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD)
The Strategic Incentives Division (SID) provides incentive funding for projects that improve air quality, reduce air quality health impacts and protect global climate. SID concentrates primarily on the reduction of criteria pollutants and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Funding is primarily focused on mobile source projects that reduce or eliminate pollution from cars, trucks, marine vessels, locomotives, agricultural equipment, construction equipment and for projects that encourage the use of low emissions or zero emissions transportation such as shuttles and ride sharing, bicycle lanes and pedestrian paths. Funding is generally available through 11 program areas, though most new funding cycles are coming to a close at this time. New funding cycled will be posted as they open.
California Municipal Utility Association
Financing Authority for Resource Efficiency in California (FARECal) provides flexible, joint/pooled financing for energy efficiency, water conservation and water reclamation projects to municipalities and local districts with publicly owned utilities. To receive funding, agencies must be a member of the California Municipal Utilities Association.