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Public Agency Program Services

Public Agency Program Services

The SoCalREN Public Agency Program offers no-cost* services to help public agencies reduce energy costs through energy efficiency improvements. The program provides objective, third-party expertise to give agencies peace of mind that they are implementing the best measures to maximize energy cost savings.

Energy portfolio analysis tools that help identify potential opportunities are offered to help agencies determine where to begin. Once a project is identified, an agency is welcome to leverage our Turnkey Project Delivery option that takes projects from start to finish, or services can be customized to fit project needs.

*Agencies pay construction costs.

Available Services

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Technical Support

  • Facility energy audit
  • Streetlight LED retrofit assistance
  • Pumping optimization, wastewater plant improvements and other measures
  • Energy consumption benchmarking
  • Retrocommissioning support
  • Energy efficiency performance specifications
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Staff Support

  • Project management and energy consulting team throughout the project cycle
  • Staff report and documentation for project approval assistance specifications
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Financing Support

  • Project financing analysis
  • Financing options including On-Bill Financing (OBF), Energy Lease Financing (ELF) and others
  • Utility rebate & incentive application support
  • Access to financial advisory services through PFM Financial Advisors LLC
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Proposal & Construction Support

  • Cooperative procurement for project delivery
  • Procurement and project delivery option analysis
  • Third-party review of project bids and proposals
  • Development of contractor scope of work with performance specifications
  • Contractor cost estimate review
  • Construction management support
  • Project close-out support

Service Types

Portfolio Analysis

The SoCalREN Public Agency Program offers a suite of energy analysis services and tools designed to educate and empower agencies to make informed decisions about their energy management. These tools compare agency-owned assets such as buildings and streetlights to highlight energy-intensive infrastructure with opportunities for cost-saving energy efficiency projects. To inform portfolio-wide energy analysis, our services and tools include a Comparative Energy Analysis Report, and ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager® assistance.

Available Services and Tools

Comparative Energy Analysis Report

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  • Provides an agency-wide snapshot of building, streetlight, pumping, and exterior lighting annual energy consumption and cost.
  • Helps to identify opportunities for energy efficiency projects and energy audits by highlighting the highest users.
  • Estimates the potential energy and financial impacts of retrofits.

ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager Assistance

  • ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager is an online management tool created by the EPA that allows building managers to track and assess energy use across their entire portfolio of buildings. Learn more here.
  • Supports fulfillment of AB 802 benchmarking guidelines—a requirement for select California facilities.
  • Utilizes the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager online benchmarking tool to enable continuous monitoring of building performance.
  • Establishes a record of all agency facilities for the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager building certification.
  • Capacity to connect electric and gas consumption data to all facilities.
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Turnkey Project Delivery

The SoCalREN Public Agency Program provides a full range of no-cost energy efficiency services specifically tailored for public agencies.

Because our focus is on helping you improve your facilities, reduce energy costs, and obtain benefits sooner, SoCalREN offers a full turnkey solution that makes implementing cost-effective upgrades to public facilities faster than was previously possible, cutting the time to construction and saving you money. This innovative service includes:

  • Start-to-finish project management support
  • Technical assistance
  • Access to financing
  • Competitively bid specialty contractors
  • Transparent pricing
  • Assistance with utility incentive and rebate processing

All services provided by SoCalREN are provided at no cost, however agencies are responsible for all construction costs. In addition, SoCalREN is able to customize the offerings for each agency, depending on their specific needs in order to be of most assistance.

Fast, Transparent, and Cost-Effective

Whether your agency is considering a whole building retrofit or a single measure such as street lighting, the SoCalREN Public Agency Program is your one-stop solution. Our Turnkey Project Delivery guides you through the entire process from facility audits all the way through construction.


A typical energy efficiency retrofit project can take from 9 to 16 months before construction begins. The SoCalREN Public Agency Program can cut the time by as much as half. A key component of our program is an expedited construction procurement process specifically designed to fast-track energy efficiency retrofits. Pools of highly qualified mechanical and electrical contractors in your region have already been selected by the National Joint Powers Alliance (NJPA) through a public competitive bidding process.

Through the NJPA, public agencies such as yours can use these pools of contractors and be assured that they are getting the most qualified firms at guaranteed prices. Your agency does not have to go through a lengthy qualification and bidding process, and the pricing is transparent, detailed and guaranteed up front.

Becoming a member of the NJPA is easy. It can be done online and at no cost, no obligation and no liability. Many agencies are already members.


The NJPA’s bidding process conforms to the California Government Code. Invitations for Bids (IFBs) were advertised to contractors throughout Southern California and pre-bid conferences were held in several locations to give all firms an equal opportunity to participate. Only highly qualified contractors with energy efficiency experience and the lowest bids were selected.

Contractors also bid an adjustment factor that is applied to a detailed catalog of construction tasks with preset unit prices based on local labor, material and equipment rates. The process provides transparent pricing upfront. Agencies can apply their own local terms and conditions to project contracts.

The contractor provides a cost proposal for each project that is broken down into a list of tasks with unit prices and quantities. The cost proposal then undergoes due diligence review by SoCalREN and the agency.


Because our focus is on helping you improve your facilities, reduce energy costs and obtain savings faster, we provide project management and engineering services at no cost to you. A project manager from SoCalREN works closely with your agency from start to finish, ensuring your project moves forward and stays on schedule. Highly qualified engineers provide free energy audits, design performance specifications that maximize your energy savings, and provide construction management support. Your agency will have much lower procurement and administrative costs by using the expedited construction process. And because the construction prices are set by the unit pricing in the catalog, the risk of inflated cost of change orders is reduced.

Energy Efficiency Projects

The SoCalREN Public Agency Program works with public agencies to develop a comparative energy analysis to prioritize sites for energy audits and implementation of energy retrofit projects. If your agency has a project ready to go, SoCalREN can help move the project to completion. Our Project Managers oversee and manage all required tasks.

An experienced energy engineering team is assigned to work with your staff and provide technical assistance during all, or any phase of your project. We develop an energy audit, or if you have a streetlight project, a survey. This produces a detailed list of recommended energy efficiency measures, along with a detailed financial analysis of the energy savings and costs of the recommendations to help guide your decision-making. We work with you to select the final package of measures to be installed by a quality mechanical or electrical contractor. The energy consultant prepares performance-based technical specifications and a scope of work for the selected measures.

Lighting: Includes interior and exterior building lighting, parking lot lighting, park lighting, and traffic signals

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  • High-performance fluorescent or LEDs
  • Occupancy sensors
  • Bi-level lighting controls
  • Comprehensive lighting control strategies
  • Daylight harvesting

Mechanical: Includes performance improvements to systems such as HVAC equipment and pool pumps

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  • Compressed air system modifications
  • High efficiency furnaces and heat pumps
  • Variable frequency drives (VFDs)
  • Energy monitoring and control systems
  • Retrocommissioning

Street Lighting: Includes retrofitting old high-intensity light sources with more efficient LEDs

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  • Inventory analysis
  • Photometric analysis
  • Technical oversight

Water: Includes pumping optimization and other measures

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  • Well rehabilitation
  • Pump overhaul and controls
  • Load shift measures
  • Water distribution
  • Dewatering systems improvements
  • Retrocommissioning

Wastewater: Includes wastewater plant improvements and other measures

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  • Blower replacement and optimization
  • Mixer replacement
  • Aeration/diffuser
  • Sensor-based control systems
  • Chemical treatment systems

Financing Related Services

Energy retrofits save money and resources in the long run, but financing energy projects can be a big challenge for most public agencies. The SoCalREN Public Agency Program is here to help overcome this challenge by offering an array of no-cost services that help qualifying agencies identify and analyze their financing options and move projects to completion. Financing related services are offered by themselves or in conjunction with SoCalREN’s other services, such as technical assistance or Turnkey Project Delivery.

The SoCalREN Public Agency Program’s financing related services offer these benefits:

  • Turnkey Solutions: Staff time and budgets are limited at most public agencies. The SoCalREN can take your agency through the entire process with little use of your own staff resources.
  • Tailored Solutions: Agencies have unique projects and needs. The SoCalREN can help you identify financing solutions that best fit your needs and circumstances.
  • Paperwork Made Easy: Once you decide to finance your energy upgrade, the SoCalREN can assist your staff with completing the financing and incentive applications for the project.
  • Energy Project Lease Financing: Offers flexible terms and low interest rates to public agencies for energy efficiency, water conservation, and renewable energy projects.
  • Financial Advisor: Public Financial Management, Inc. (PFM) provides financial advisory services to the SoCalREN Public Agency Program. Upon request, PFM is available, at no additional charge, to work directly with agency staff and officials to ensure proper communication of financial options, structures, and obligations.
  • An Objective Third-Party Resource: The SoCalREN is funded by California utility ratepayers and has no financial stake in the outcome of your projects. Our only mission is to help public agencies complete their energy saving projects.

Find out if your public agency qualifies for services.

Financing Options

Energy Project Lease Financing

Available to public agencies throughout California, this flexible low-interest loan from a private lender can be used in conjunction with other utility or public financing, rebates, and incentives. Designed exclusively for public agencies, it addresses challenges agencies face when trying to finance energy efficiency, water saving, and renewable energy projects. The minimum amount for a loan is $250,000, but multiple projects can be bundled under a single loan.

The Process

  1. Contact: SoCalREN Public Agency Program at
  2. Receive Offer: Outlining rates and terms
  3. Pass a Resolution: Authorizing financing and project
  4. Receive Funds: One week after board approval
  5. Begin Construction: All money received prior to construction

Additional Financing Options

  • On-Bill Financing: Allows public agencies to finance energy projects with zero interest and pay back the loan as part of their utility bill over a 10-year period. Agencies using this program may also receive additional incentives such as rebates from their utilities.
  • California Energy Commission Energy Efficiency Financing: Offers loans of up to $3 million to cities, counties, colleges, universities, and K-12 schools to pay for energy feasibility studies and installation of energy saving measures. The interest rate is 1 percent for a term up to 20 years. The availability of funding for this program varies from time to time. Please check with the CEC for more information.
  • Revolving Loan Fund: An internal pool of money that may be set up by the public agency to finance energy efficiency projects. Utility bill savings from financed projects replenish the pool of money allowing additional projects to be financed. Several municipalities in California are using this form of sustainable financing to successfully implement new and future projects. SoCalREN can help you establish a revolving fund and develop procedure tools for the fund.
  • Other Options: SoCalREN can help you identify and assess other sources of funding. Contact us at to find out more.