A Comparison of the Top California Energy Efficiency Financing Program Incentives and Rebates

Over the past few years, we’ve been lucky enough here in California to have had a steady wave of energy efficiency financing programs pop up, all focused on incentives and rebates for homeowners in our area. From HERO financing to SMUD to Ygrene to CalFIRST, there’s enough variety that you can be sure to find the right one for your home’s energy efficiency financing needs. The only downside to having so many financing programs to choose from? Trying to learn about each one and how they can uniquely benefit you, your home, and your financial future.

I know from my experience as an HVAC and plumbing expert that information on incentive and rebate programs can be a lot for homeowners to take in. That’s why today I’d like to compare the top California energy efficiency financing programs with incentives and rebates and connect you to the resources you need in order to take advantage of them. These financing options can make a whole-home energy efficiency approach, and the resulting cost savings, accessible to most homeowners. So, it’s my goal to make the information about them accessible too.

To speak directly to an expert contractor on the Bell Brothers team knowledgeable about each of the programs below.

Understanding California Energy Efficiency Financing Program Incentives and Rebates

What’s great about each one of these programs is that they make living a greener life accessible for many homeowners who are not able to swing for large upfront expenses but want to do their part for the environment and their communities. The great news is that when you live a greener lifestyle, you not only reduce your carbon footprint and help the environment, you lower your energy bills too!

Here are the top California energy efficiency financing programs you should know about:

The HERO financing program


The HERO financing program, which stands for Home Energy Renovation Opportunity, is a local government-approved loan that finances energy and water efficient home upgrades. Homeowners can get up to 100% of the cost of upgrades covered, with terms as long as 25 years available.

Learn more about the HERO financing program HERE


The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) offers money back and/or rebates on energy efficient appliances, like heat pumps, water heaters, smart thermostats, clothes washers, and room air conditioners. In order to qualify for the program, homeowners must ensure their appliances are SMUD approved, so be sure to ask your local contractor for help with this.

Learn more about SMUD incentives and rebates HERE


The Ygrene Energy Fund offers 100% financing for residential upgrades complying with set standards of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and in some areas water conservation and storm protection. One of the best things about this program is that you find out whether you’ve received financing within 30 minutes of submitting your application. So, if you’re itching to get a jump on your project, Ygrene could be a great choice for you.

Learn more about the Ygrene Energy Fund HERE

CaliforniaFIRST (CalFIRST)

CalFIRST is an upfront financing program for energy efficiency upgrades much like the other programs. What’s unique about CalFIRST is that they offer flexible payment programs, typically between 5 and 30 years. And, should you move before paying off your loan, any outstanding amount due can be easily transferred to the property tax bill of your new home.

Learn more about the CaliforniaFIRST financing program HERE


PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) is a public-private partnership that offers loans to make energy upgrades accessible and affordable for homeowners. One thing to consider about PACE loans is that the loan is tied to the home rather than the homeowner. If the loan is not paid off and you choose to sell, the balance stays with the home.

Learn more about the PACE financing program HERE

Bell Brothers loves to help Northern California homeowners like you qualify for energy efficiency home upgrade financing. Give us a call in Sacramento at 916-266-9677, Stockton at 209-800-8325, or Vacaville at 707-266-5334 and we’ll help you through the application process.

Finding the Right Contractor for Your Energy Efficiency Upgrades

Most homeowners try and get their financing in place before they reach out to a contractor to schedule the upgrades, but I suggest that you find a contractor first before you even begin the process of applying for a loan. Experienced contractors like the folks at Bell Brothers can actually help you find the right financing option for you and your home. They can even do a free home energy assessment to determine the upgrades that will have the greatest impact on your home’s energy efficiency.

Once we’ve looked at your home, we can help you navigate all the ins and outs of these complex financing programs, taking a huge load off of your shoulders and saving you a whole lot of time, stress, and confusion. Then, once you’ve been approved for financing, we can get to work right away so that your home can be more efficient in the blink of an eye.

At Bell Brothers, our trained HVAC professionals would be happy to help you make your home more energy-efficient by installing a new HVAC system, energy efficient appliances, or upgrading your windows. Contact us today to schedule a free in-home consultation.