Public Facilities

Available Financing

SMC Energy Watch can help you apply for these loans.   

  • PG&E 0% Financing - Public agencies can borrow up to $1 million for energy efficiency projects. The simple pay-back period must be 10 years or less. Projects must qualify for incentives from PG&E.  Up to $250,000 may be used for LED streetlights.
  • CEC 1% loans - Public agencies can borrow up to $3 million for energy-saving projects (including renewables). The simple pay-back period must be 15 years or less. There is often a waiting list of these loans. Call 650-599-1403 to get started.

SMC Energy Watch can provide a list of other local governments and public entities that have used these financing mechanisms. We can also arrange for a presentation from PG&E or a conversation with a CEC financing expert to answer questions. 


A key mission of the San Mateo County Energy Watch is assisting local governments and special districts in upgrading their facilities, better managing their energy use, and being energy efficiency leaders within their communities. We provide free energy audits, energy efficiency retrofits, rebates and incentives, and benchmarking services. In addition, we offer  assistance navigating financing options.

Comprehensive Energy Recommendations

Ready to move beyond lighting retrofits to find deeper energy savings at your facilities? SMC Energy Watch is pleased to offer comprehensive energy recommendations to cities in San Mateo County through 2014. Here's what that entails... 

  1. Our Energy Watch team will meet with city staff to identify facilities that offer the greatest opportunity for energy savings using benchmarking data and anecdotal input from staff.
  2. Guided by city staff, an Energy Watch engineer (from our nonprofit partner, Ecology Action) will audit the selected facilities. This takes two to three days.
  3. A few weeks later, the Energy Watch team will present findings to city staff, including key decision makers from Public Works, Facilities, and Finance. Recommended measures will be "bundled" to maximize the opportunity to use PG&E's 0% financing and/or CEC's 1% loans (see blue box). Staff will be encouraged to move forward with a bundle of measures, rather than completing them over a period of years.
  4. The Energy Watch team will assist city staff in preparing bid documents and applications for incentives and loans. 
  5. Once projects are implemented, cities will enjoy the reduction in energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions!

To participate, cities must have benchmarking data for facilities and be willing to seriously consider moving forward with the recommendations as a bundle. (This is not a service to collect data for a five-year maintenance plan!) A key member of the finance staff should attend the presentation of findings, and staff will participate in monthly check-in calls to keep things moving.

To get started, call 650-599-1403. If you'd like to talk to staff at other cities participating in this program, let us know. 


LED streetlights – Turn-key program


PG&E offers incentives to customers who own and maintain street lights in the PG&E service area on the LS-2 fixed pricing schedule. Through the program, customers who replace or upgrade their existing street lights with new PG&E-approved LED street lights are eligible for new lower pricing and product rebates. In addition, PG&E offers project management of LED streetlight retrofits through the LED Street Light Turnkey Replacement Service. The service provides significant cost savings when compared with the project management expense associated with city personnel or city-acquired subcontractor labor.

In San Mateo County, the cities of Foster City and East Palo Alto have already replaced all of their streetlights with LEDs, significantly reducing their cities electricity bills each year.