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Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency

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Energy Efficiency Loan Program   

Last DSIRE Review: 07/20/2012
Program Overview:
State: Pennsylvania
Incentive Type: State Loan Program
Eligible Efficiency Technologies: Ceiling Fan, Equipment Insulation, Water Heaters, Furnaces , Boilers, Heat pumps, Central Air conditioners, Programmable Thermostats, Caulking/Weather-stripping, Duct/Air sealing, Building Insulation, Windows, Comprehensive Measures/Whole Building, Ventilating Fans, Heat Pump Water Heaters
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Biomass, Geothermal Heat Pumps, "Alternative Energy Heating and Cooling Equipment Systems" (Excluding Solar)
Applicable Sectors: Residential, Low-Income Residential
Amount:$1,000 - $35,000 (varies by loan type)
Maximum Incentive:$35,000 (varies by loan type)
Terms:Vary by loan type; interest rates generally from 2.99% - 8.99% with terms from 3 - 20 years
Start Date:02/23/2009 (general); 10/22/2010 (geothermal loans)
Web Site:

The Keystone HELP Energy Efficiency Loan Program is designed to help homeowners improve energy efficiency with special financing for high-efficiency heating, air conditioning, insulation, windows, doors, geothermal and “whole house” improvements. Principally supported by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the Pennsylvania Treasury Department and the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, the Keystone HELP program is administered by AFC First Financial Corporation, a Pennsylvania energy efficiency lender.

Pennsylvania homeowners who own and make qualifying improvements to their one- or two-unit primary residence located in the state and whose combined annual household income does not exceed $250,000 are eligible to apply for loans under this program. Eligible applicants may receive only one loan during each fiscal year, but they may apply for additional loans in future years, as long as the additional projects comply with the published guidelines current at the time of application. Loans are available only for projects initiated after February 23, 2009. All installed equipment and material must be new, and work must be performed by a qualifying contractor. A list of qualifying contractors is available on the program web site.

The following types of loans are available for energy efficiency in general:

  • Energy Improvements with Air Sealing (CAPP) Loans (unsecured) are for heating, cooling, insulation and other Energy Star qualified improvements that are part of a comprehensive project of blower door directed air sealing and other energy saving measures recommended by a BPI-certified contractor. The loan range is $1,000 - $15,000 with a fixed interest rate of 2.99% on a 3, 5, or 10 year loan term.
  • Energy Star Loans (unsecured) are for the installation of qualifying Energy Star improvements or other improvements that meet program criteria. The loan range is $1,000 - $15,000. The rate is 8.99% (fixed). The term options are 3, 5 or 10 years.
  • Advanced Performance Energy Star Loans (unsecured) are for the installation of qualifying improvements that exceed Energy Star standards. The loan range is $1,000 - $15,000. The rate is 7.99% (fixed). The term options are 3, 5 or 10 years.
  • Whole House Improvement Loans (secured) are for improvements that make a whole house more energy-efficient, as recommended by an approved energy auditor. The loan range is $5,000 - $35,000. The rate range is 3.875% - 6.375% (fixed). The term options are 10, 15 or 20 years. Whole House Improvement Loans are available for qualifying improvements determined by a comprehensive "whole house" energy audit conducted by a qualifying auditor and the recommended energy improvements presented by the auditor. A post-construction audit is also conducted. Eligible applicants will receive $325 towards the cost of the energy audit from Keystone HELP upon completion of the post-construction audit.

In October 2010, the program introduced a series of new loan options for homeowners that install geothermal heat pump systems. Projects must be initiated after the effective date of the program (October 22, 2010) in order to qualify. There are no income limits for geothermal loans. Geothermal loan options are as follows:

  • Geothermal Heat Pump System Loans (unsecured) from $1,000 - $15,000 are available for closed-loop geo-exchange systems that meet the Energy Star Tier II designation, as well as other improvements that are Energy Star qualified or meet program standards. Loans have a fixed interest rate of 4.99% over terms of 3, 5, or 10 years. Participants in this program (10-year term only) are also eligible for a geothermal tax credit anticipation loan set at 30% of the cost of the system (the value of the federal tax credit) from $2,500 - $10,000. Under this option, Keystone HELP makes the first 12 regular monthly payments of interest and principal on behalf of the borrower.
  • Geothermal Heat Pump System Loans with Whole House Improvements (secured) are for projects that combine a closed-loop geo-exchange system that meets the Energy Star Tier II designation with whole house improvements recommended by a BPI/RESNET certified energy audit. A minimum energy savings of 15% - 25% is required depending on the energy profile of the home. Loan amounts may range from $5,000 - $35,000 at interest rates form 2.875% - 5.375% over terms of 10, 15 or 20 years. Eligible applicants will receive $325 towards the cost of the energy audit from Keystone HELP.

For more information please see the program website, which contains detailed program guidelines and also lists several private loans that are available for people and projects that do not qualify for the Keystone loan programs.

  Tessa Shin
AFC First Financial Corporation
PO Box 3558
1005 Brookside Rd - Suite 200
Allentown, PA 18106
Phone: (888) 232-3477
Fax: (610) 433-7488
Web Site:
NCSU - home
Disclaimer: The information presented on the DSIRE web site provides an unofficial overview of financial incentives and other policies. It does not constitute professional tax advice or other professional financial guidance, and it should not be used as the only source of information when making purchasing decisions, investment decisions or tax decisions, or when executing other binding agreements. Please refer to the individual contact provided below each summary to verify that a specific financial incentive or other policy applies to your project.

While the DSIRE staff strives to provide the best information possible, the DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. make no representations or warranties, either express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of the information. The DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. disclaim all liability of any kind arising out of your use or misuse of the information contained or referenced on DSIRE Web pages.

Copyright 2014 - 2015 North Carolina State University, under NREL Subcontract No. XEU-0-99515-01. Permission granted only for personal or educational use, or for use by or on behalf of the U.S. government. North Carolina State University prohibits the unauthorized display, reproduction, sale, and/or distribution of all or portions of the content of the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) without prior, written consent.