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San Francisco Solar: Bay Area Revives PACE Financing Program

May 22nd, 2015 by

Originally published on Cost of Solar.

san-francisco-bridgeOne of the bigger hurdles to home solar, which is paying for the cost of installing the solar array, is getting a little lower in the San Francisco area, thanks to the revival of the Bay Area’s PACE financing program.

The PACE, or Property Assessed Clean Energy, program (also referred to as municipal financing) allows qualifying home and commercial property owners to finance solar energy installations and energy- and water-efficiency upgrades on their buildings, by borrowing it for the up-front costs and repaying the loan as a line item on their property tax bills.

“PACE programs allow qualified property owners to obtain accessible, affordable, long-term financing for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation improvements, and repay it through their property tax bills.”

In December, the City of San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors approved the authorization of three organizations to offer PACE financing in the municipality, which are HERO,CaliforniaFIRST, and AllianceNRG.

By using PACE financing to pay for the costs of solar (or other home improvements that fall under the program’s purview), homeowners can essentially get the benefits and usage of a home solar array for no cash upfront, and instead pay it off over a 20 year period. The financing acts as a special tax assessment, not a true loan, so if the home is sold, the PACE property tax assessment remains on the property, as the new owner reaps the benefits and value from the original improvements. Read more.