The state of California is launching a huge home energy program called Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE). The PACE concept was created in 2008 in Berkeley, but this new one is for seventeen California counties and is supported by $300 million dollars in funding.
This money will be loaned to homeowners so they can install home solar systems. They will be allowed to borrow up to $75,000 and can pay the loans back over a number of years, ranging up to twenty. They can also choose to get loans for more efficient furnaces and water heaters.
The CaliforniaFIRST website says no credit score, or down payment are required. Homeowners can qualify based on the value of their homes and payments can be made via property taxes.
An administrator said he expects that the program will result in about $250 million in PV home solar systems being installed in 2015. The $300 million in backing is also expected to be replenished, due to private investor interest. The seventeen counties covered by CaliforniaFIRST have about fourteen million residents.
In the event of loan defaults, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill providing ten million dollars to cover them. So far in California such defaults have been non-existent, according to Cliff Staton, VP program administrator at Renewable Funding.
These kinds of creative finance programs are helping to spread clean energy in a way that overcomes some of the barriers to entry for typical consumers. The knock against clean energy for some time has been the cost, but if this hurdle is removed there may be more openness to switching.
That California would offer such a program is not particularly surprising considering that the state has been a clean energy leader in the United States. The Go Solar California website says there have been well over 200,000 solar projects in California so far. Greater energy efficiency combined with clean energy, will be better for consumers and the planet.
Image Credit: LBL.gov