Comparative Evaluation of Financing Programs: Insights From California’s Experience

Publication Type

Policy Brief

Date Published




Berkeley Lab examines criteria for a comparative assessment of multiple financing programs for energy efficiency, developed through a statewide public process in California.

The state legislature directed the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority (CAEATFA) to develop these criteria. CAEATFA's report to the legislature, an invaluable reference for other jurisdictions considering these topics, discusses the proposed criteria and the rationales behind them in detail. Berkeley Lab's brief focuses on several salient issues that emerged during the criteria development and discussion process. Many of these issues are likely to arise in other states that plan to evaluate the impacts of energy efficiency financing programs, whether for a single program or multiple programs.

Issues discussed in the brief include:

  • The stakeholder process to develop the proposed assessment criteria
  • Attribution of outcomes - such as energy savings - to financing programs vs. other drivers
  • Choosing the outcome metric of primary interest: program take-up levels vs. savings
  • The use of net benefits vs. benefit-cost ratios for cost-effectiveness evaluation
  • Non-energy factors
  • Consumer protection factors
  • Market transformation impacts
  • Accommodating varying program goals in a multi-program evaluation
  • Accounting for costs and risks borne by various parties, including taxpayers and utility customers, in cost-effectiveness analysis
  • How to account for potential synergies among programs in a multi-program evaluation

Year of Publication



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