NEW JERSEY CLEAN ENERGY Loans (NJ CELs)
The NJ CELs application is currently under development. Please continue to check this website for updates.
NJ CELs is an $80 million co-lending program launched by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) for small businesses seeking to finance clean energy projects. The program’s funds come from the U.S. Treasury’s State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI).
The NJEDA will lend between $250,000 and $10 million for projects requesting a total loan amount of $500,000 to $20 million.
NJ CELs will unlock capital for small businesses and start-ups, catalyze the deployment of clean energy in New Jersey, and support minority-, woman-, and veteran-owned businesses to participate in the State’s energy transition.
The Eligibility Self-Assessment can walk you through the basic eligibility criteria for NJ CELs.
Borrowers: To be eligible, an applicant must:
- Have fewer than 750 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) employees, including employees of its affiliates
- Be in good standing with the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (LWD) and NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
- Have a valid tax clearance certificate no older than 180 days at time of approval for financing
- Be located in New Jersey (see Key Definitions tab below)
- Be seeking to finance a clean energy project (see Key Definitions tab below)
- Use a clean energy technology that has already been demonstrated in the US or internationally
- Be economically feasible
- Be requesting a loan of $500,000 to $20 million for the project in total (NJEDA and private financing)
- Be requesting 50% or less of the total loan amount from the NJEDA ($250,000-$10 million)
- Not be enrolled in any other state SSBCI program; and
- Have a term sheet, letter of intent, draft agreement, commitment letter, or similar document from an eligible financial institution.
If an applicant meets all of the eligibility criteria, they must also score a minimum of 50 out of 100 points in order to qualify for NJ CELs (see Scoring Criteria Tab).
Financial institutions are eligible if they:
- Are included in the NJEDA Premier Lender list or NJEDA’s CDFI Premier Lender list; or
- Are a private equity fund, bank, pension fund, insurance company, hedge fund, mezzanine fund, original equipment manufacturer (OEM), developer, family office, specialty finance company, or such other entity that has originated, maintained, and serviced more than $5 million in clean energy loans over a three-year period.
Financial institutions will be required to certify that they meet these criteria, and that they meet the requirements for lenders under the SSBCI Capital Program Policy Guidelines.
If an applicant meets the eligibility criteria, they must also score 50 points or above (out of 100) based on the scoring criteria below.
Applicants should use this table to estimate their score prior to applying for NJ CELs.
Please refer to the Key Definitions tab below for a definition of full-time equivalent (FTE).
Total per Category
Direct jobs to be forecast
1 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) per $100,000 or less
1 FTE per $100,001-$125,000
1 FTE per $125,001-$150,000
1 FTE per over $150,000
100% of jobs forecast are in NJ
Strength of management team and partnering entities
Has experience with the clean energy technology in this proposed project
Applicant organization has 2 or more C-level executives
Benefits to Overburdened Communities (see Key Definitions)
Reduction or avoidance of criteria pollutants in an overburdened community
50% or more of new jobs forecast are created in an overburdened community
Reduction in energy costs for individuals or businesses in an overburdened community
NJ Certified Minority-, Woman-, or Veteran-owned business
Minority-, Woman-, or Veteran-Owned business (New Jersey certification required)
Number of employees (at time of application)
100 or fewer employees
101 - 200 employees
201 - 300 employees
301 - 400 employees
401 - 500 employees
501 or more employees
Total loan amount requested for the project
$1M or less
$1,000,001 - $2M
$2,000,001 - $3M
$3,000,001 - $4M
$4,000,001 - $5M
Greater than $5M
Ratio of private dollars to NJEDA dollars in the total loan amount requested for the project
6:1 or greater
5:1 - 6:1
4:1 - 5:1
3:1 - 4:1
2:1 - 3:1
1:1 - 2:1
The NJEDA will only finance up to 50% of the overall loan amount for a project. At least half of the total loan for the project must be financed by one or more private lenders.
NJEDA loan terms:
- Between $250,000 and $10 million (for projects with a total loan amount of $500,000-$20 million)
- For terms between 1 and 25 years
- Interest rate: 3% below the private lender’s rate
- Secured, but subordinate to the private lender in collateral.
Special terms: Minority-, woman-, or veteran-owned businesses (New Jersey certification required), as well as businesses whose projects are located in an overburdened community (see Key Definitions), are eligible for:
- Additional 1% interest rate reduction each; and
- 10% loan forgiveness, if the project results in at least 1 job being created per $100,000.
State Small Business Credit Initiative
This NJEDA Program is funded by the federal State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI). The SSBCI funds small business credit support and investment programs developed by state, territory, and Tribal governments in order to empower small businesses to access capital needed to invest in job-creating opportunities. The funds also support the promotion of American entrepreneurship and strive to democratize capital access across the country with a focus on very small businesses with fewer than 10 employees and businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.
With SSBCI participation and funding, this NJEDA program must meet strict guidelines of compliance for program requirements, application approval, and ongoing monitoring. Without exceptions, any business applying to this program must provide complete and accurate application submissions, and if approved, the business will also be required to maintain complete and accurate reporting which must be submitted to the NJEDA within the program specified timelines. Misrepresentation, omissions, or deviations from program requirements or reporting may subject a business to repayment of any benefits as well as incur penalties.
For more information on SSBCI program rules and materials, please click this link.
If you want to be included in future outreach or have questions, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are a financial institution interested in learning more about NJ CELs, please submit the Expression of Interest Form to be contacted by an NJEDA representative.