Become More Sustainable with Sustainable Energy Fund

Sustainable Energy Fund (SEF) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that assists energy users in overcoming educational, financial and regulatory barriers to a sustainable energy future. SEF was founded in 1999 through a settlement approved by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission during the Commonwealth’s electric deregulation proceedings. Since then, SEF has been a leading funder of sustainable energy projects and has been involved with the financing of projects worth over $100 million. SEF provides services to organizations throughout the state of Pennsylvania and has assisted numerous organizations in becoming more sustainable with their energy use.

Commercial Loan Program:

Sustainable Energy Fund finances energy-related projects to established commercial, industrial, municipal, agricultural and nonprofit entities. Financing is provided for renewable energy projects and energy efficiency projects (e.g. building envelope improvements, HVAC, lighting systems, etc.). Sustainable Energy Fund will provide financing for 100% of your project ranging in size from $5,000 - $1 million. For projects larger than $1 million, SEF evaluates the project on a case by case basis and has provided short term financing exceeding $4 million.

To receive financing, projects must reduce energy consumption, generate energy from a renewable source or replace a “dirty” fossil fuel with a clean (or cleaner) energy source.

The features and benefits of a commercial loan from Sustainable Energy Fund are:

  • No prepayment penalty
  • Interest only period
  • Amortization schedule up to 20 years
  • Will take a subordinate lien position
  • Strive to structure loan payments to be less than the monthly savings so your project can be cash flow positive
  • Asset-based lending
  • Interest rates ranging from 5% to 6.75%

Energy Savings Agreement:

The Energy Savings Agreement (ESA) is a three-party agreement between SEF, your organization and the contractor(s) to provide energy efficient upgrades that result in energy savings. After energy savings opportunities are identified via an energy audit, Sustainable Energy Fund will fund the project so long as the contractor guarantees the performance of the recommended measures.

ESAs are structured so that your energy consumption after installation is less than the energy consumption prior to installation. Initially, this should result in utility bill savings greater than payments. This could change in the future as utility prices escalate, but your utility payment will still be less than what it would have been if the project was not completed. In this way, your organization will be cash flow positive from the beginning, giving your organization more funds to direct towards its mission. You are encouraged to also seek your accountant’s advice as to whether the transaction is on or off your organization’s balance sheet. 

Sustainable Energy Fund can assist your organization in more ways than providing financing for an ESA. Sustainable Energy Fund will:

  • Conduct a walkthrough audit
  • Select appropriate energy conservation measures based on the audit
  • Review technical documents from contractors
  • Manage bid process and confirm energy savings exist via a Measurement & Verification period

Additional Benefits:

Beyond the benefits listed above, utilizing Sustainable Energy Fund’s financing is an investment in a clean energy future in Pennsylvania. SEF only finances projects that promote and further sustainable energy. As such, the repayments you make on your loan will be used in the future to fund another similar project. Additionally, financing your project with SEF enables our organization to continue educating future leaders in sustainability through our education programs.

Sustainable Energy Fund can also be flexible to better suit your needs. If the terms listed above will not work for you or are not ideal for your project, please contact us at 610.264.4440 and we will be happy to discuss alternatives.

To learn more about SEF and their programs visit their website: