Growing up and living in California all my life I can recall seeing the first residential solar array in my neighbor’s yard. It required a substantial portion of their backyard, a crane to move the panels into position, and if I remember correctly the breakeven date on the investment was sometime around 2027….needless to say, at that time, solar was more of a way of life, than any sort of economic arbitrage. Times have changed; solar is more efficient, is easier to finance, upfront costs are coming down, and if you believe what you read in Bloomberg, thanks may be due in part to the secondary markets. Jody Shenn writes, “Renovate America Inc., a closely held company that works with municipalities to let homeowners use property liens to borrow cheaply for energy-efficiency improvements, is expecting more sales of a new type of bond tied to the financing. New York hedge fund 400 Capital Management LLC, with more than $1 billion of assets under management, helped bring the first $233 million of securities into the market this year, including $129 million of notes last month that helped finance 6,858 projects that will save homeowners 6.7 million kilowatt-hours in energy and 4 million gallons of water annually, according to an e-mailed statement today.” Like I’ve always said, banking needs more acronyms; the debt is backed by liens called Property Assessed Clean Energy assessments (PACE with a silent lower-case ‘A’, I guess), which are similar to property taxes, created as consumers are given funds for work such as solar-panel installations, better windows and artificial turf. Renovate America calls its product the Home Energy Renovation Opportunity, or Hero, program. Read more.