The following graphic is thanks to Clean Power Finance:
I would argue that the current approach to incentivizing homeowners, regulating contractors, regulating and incentivizing utilities, underwriting lending, is simple too economically inefficient to scale. It just costs too much to either bribe or require every actor in the system to do something that is fundamentally not in their interest. If you do the math on retrofitting say two million homes year (still the 50 year plan), we are talking about at least $20 Billion in spending per year, and a huge public investment to support it. We simply run out of public money well before we reach our goals.
It is time to rethink our approach, and we can learn from what is already working in similar industries and attracting the kinds of large scale capital required for us to achieve our long-term goals. Solar is a great place to start, however, there are currently similar models emerging in the commercial energy efficiency industry in the form of Managed Energy Service Agreement. Asset owners get a guaranteed energy bill from a service provider, who conducts a retrofit, often adds an energy management system, pools risk and installs measures.
We are in a new time, with new technology, and a post ARRA infrastructure to lean on. It is time we bring this thinking to the residential energy efficiency sector.