Financing FAQs

Efficiency Maine Financing – Frequently Asked Questions

WHAT IS A MAINE PACE LOAN?

A Maine PACE loan is a loan taken by a property owner to finance the cost of making a qualified whole house energy upgrade with eligible energy savings improvements to the property. What makes a Maine PACE loan different from other loans is that it stays with the property. If a homeowner sells his or her home before the loan is paid off, the loan can either be paid off at the time of sale or can be transferred with the property to become the responsibility of the new owner.

WHAT IS AN ENERGY LOAN?

Efficiency Maine offers Energy Loans statewide for eligible residential home energy upgrades.  Projects can be as small at $1,000 financed over 10 years as low as $11 per month per thousand borrowed at 4.99% APR or be as large as $15,000 and financed over a term of 15 years. Loan type and availability requires that  homeowners meet certain loan criteria.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A MAINE PACE LOAN AND AN ENERGY LOAN?

Click here for a comparison chart.

WHAT ARE ELIGIBLE ENERGY SAVING IMPROVEMENTS?

The minimum scope of work for a financed project must include at least one prescriptive measure from the Home Energy Savings Program rebate menu. Additional energy saving and health and safety improvements may be included in overall financed costs. Eligible energy saving improvements are measures that improve the overall energy efficiency of a home. Project components that do not save energy (including burner conversions for fuel switching) are not eligible for financing. Examples of energy efficiency measures include insulation, air sealing (foam and caulk), heating system upgrades, efficient hot water heaters, and better controls and thermostats for furnaces and boilers, windows and doors. Health and safety improvements can also be incorporated into financing where minimum scope of work requirements are met. Common health and safety improvements include asbestos, mold, mildew, radon and moisture remediation. Limited basement and roof repairs and ventilation systems may be incorporated where needed to maintain the integrity of energy measures or to prevent conditions that could lead to poor indoor air quality or premature failure of financed improvements.

HOW MUCH CAN I BORROW?

You can borrow up to $15,000 with a secured Energy Loans, and/or up to $15,000 with a Maine PACE Loan or unsecured Energy Loans depending on your credit score, credit history, debt to income ratio, and provided that your project meets program eligibility criteria.

WHAT IS AN ENERGY ASSESSMENT (AUDIT)?

Please click here to learn more about Energy Assessments.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE MAINE PACE LOAN PROGRAM?

Any residential property owner in one of the more than 180 municipalities that has established Maine PACE is eligible to take advantage of the program by meeting the following criteria:

  • The homeowner has a debt-to-income ratio of not more than 45%
  • Property tax and sewer charge payments are current
  • The property is not subject to any outstanding tax or sewer liens
  • The property is not subject to a reverse mortgage
  • The property is not subject to a mortgage or other lien on which there is a recorded notice of default, foreclosure, or delinquency

Residential buildings that have 1 to 4 housing units are eligible for a single PACE loan of up to $15,000 where no greater than 15% of building area is used for commercial activities. Condominiums are eligible for PACE loans regardless of the number of total units in a building where the loan can be attached to the deed of the condo owner.

Saving energy and money isn’t the only benefit that comes with making your home energy efficient. Other benefits could include increased home comfort, improved indoor air quality, increased property value, local job creation, and reduced need for combustion of fossil fuels and resulting emissions into the atmosphere.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE SECURED ENERGY LOAN PROGRAM?

Any residential property owner in Maine is eligible to take advantage of the program by meeting the following criteria:

  • The homeowner has a debt-to-income ratio of not more than 45%
  • Property tax and sewer charge payments are current
  • The property is not subject to any outstanding tax or sewer liens
  • The property is not subject to a reverse mortgage
  • The property is not subject to a mortgage or other lien on which there is a recorded notice of default, foreclosure, or delinquency
  • The property must be a single-family detached dwelling
  • Homeowner must have a credit score of 660
  • Secured Energy Loans cannot be used for electric resistance heating systems

Condominiums are eligible for secured Energy Loans regardless of the number of total units in a building where the loan can be attached to the deed of the condo owner.

Saving energy and money isn’t the only benefit that comes with making your home energy efficient. Other benefits could include increased home comfort, improved indoor air quality, increased property value, local job creation, and reduced need for combustion of fossil fuels and resulting emissions into the atmosphere.

HOW MUCH CAN I SAVE IN ENERGY COSTS?

Energy saving results vary per homeowner but can be considerable. Energy savings often exceed 20% and some Maine homeowners even saved in excess of 50% after upgrading their home with eligible energy savings improvements. Saving energy and money isn’t the only benefit that comes with making your home energy efficient. Home comfort is also improved. Other benefits often include improved indoor air quality, increased property value, local job creation and reduced need for combustion of fossil fuels and resulting emissions into the atmosphere.

CAN BUSINESSES APPLY FOR A HOME ENERGY LOAN?

Businesses are not eligible for Efficiency Maine’s home energy loans, except for residential building owners who are seeking to conduct energy upgrades in residential buildings of between 1-4 units each.

WHAT IS THE TERM (DURATION) OF A MAINE PACE LOAN?

A PACE loan can be for a term of 5, 10, or 15 years.

WHAT IS THE TERM (DURATION) OF AN UNSECURED ENERGY LOAN?

Unsecured energy loans of up to $15,000 can have terms up to 10 years.

WHAT IS THE INTEREST RATE OFFERED FOR AN EFFICIENCY MAINE HOME ENERGY LOAN?

The interest rate for both Maine PACE and most Energy Loans is currently 4.99% fixed APR with no loan origination, servicing, closing, or pre-payment fees of any kind. Smaller Unsecured loans up to $7,500 and Micro loans up to $4,000 are available for up to 10 years at 5.99% APR where the borrower has more a more challenging credit history. Please refer to the Loan Comparison Chart for a summary of loan credit criteria and terms.

WHAT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE PROPERTY OWNER WHO USES EFFICIENCY MAINE FINANCING TO MAKE ENERGY EFFICIENCY IMPROVEMENTS?

A property owner will be obligated to use the loan funds for energy efficiency improvements and to repay the loan for the shorter of either: 1) the agreed upon term of the loan or (in the case of a Maine PACE Loan) 2) the period of time in which the owner continues to own the property (if the homeowner sells the property, then the new owner takes on the responsibility for loan repayment).

WHAT HAPPENS TO A PACE LOAN UPON A SALE OF THE PROPERTY?

With a Maine PACE Loan, if you ever decide to sell your home, you can choose either to pay off the remaining balance, or transfer the loan to the next owner. NOTE: This feature is not available for homeowners who take advantage of other efficiency Maine Energy Loan products.

WHO CAN I CONTACT ABOUT ESTABLISHING A PACE PROGRAM IN MY COMMUNITY AND RELATED PACE INFORMATION?

Please contact Dana Fischer at dana.fischer@efficiencymaine.com at Efficiency Maine if you are interested in establishing PACE in your community or promoting our home energy loan program.

Efficiency Maine will update this FAQ periodically. Please send comments and suggestions to Dana Fischer, Efficiency Maine Residential Program Manager at dana.fischer@efficiencymaine.com.