A new lending mechanism to revitalize residential energy efficiency and renewable installations came to life this week. Gov. Jerry Brown Aug. 2 signed Assemblymember Nancy Skinner\u2019s (D-Oakland) ABX 14. It provides $50 million in state backing for clean energy retrofit loans for homes and small businesses. \u201cABX 14 will make financing for energy efficiency improvement projects more affordable by mitigating risks to lenders, which will lower rates for homeowners and businesses,\u201d Skinner stated. The urgency legislation aims to fill the gap left after municipal programs offering upfront financing for efficiency upgrades and solar installations were derailed by the federal housing agencies last year. \u201cThe bill puts the money to work for the same purpose,\u201d said Lawrence Lingbloom, Assembly Natural Resources senior consultant. In place of \u201cdirect subsidies to property owners,\u201d Skinner\u2019s legislation provides a reserve or other credit enhancements to qualified lenders. That \u201cdecrease[s] risk for lenders and reduce[s] interest rates for borrowers,\u201d according to Skinner. The specific funding mechanism--be it \u201ccash in and cash out\u201d or a revolving loan-- is to be decided by the State Treasurer\u2019s Office. The treasurer is to disperse the funds via its Alternative Energy & Advanced Transportation Financing Authority. The legislation authorizes the treasurer to enact emergency regulations to implement the bill. Regulations could be out by the end of the year, according to a State Treasurer spokesperson. Under the now largely defunct municipal Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs, cities and counties arrange upfront funding for solar energy or energy and water efficiency installations in exchange for long-term property tax assessments. Those liens were placed at the top of the list for repayment in the event of a default, raising the ire of national mortgage backers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The $50 million under Skinner\u2019s measure was initially authorized by a bill by Senator Fran Pavley (D-Santa Monica) signed into law in 2010. The funds come from the California Energy Commission\u2019s Renewable Resource Trust Fund ABX 14 also directs the Energy Commission to develop an associated Clean Energy Reserve Program and secures funds for its work. That program is to be overseen by the state authority and allocates $550,000 for administrative costs. In addition, the measure directs the authority to create lending criteria for interested homeowners, including that the loan not exceed 10 percent of the cost of the property.