California opens renewable energy financing program to homeowners

April 1, 2014 0 By Erin Kilgore

CaliforniaFIRST program has been made more accessible to homeowners throughout the state

Renewable Energy - Solar Panels on RoofCalifornia’s property-assessed clean energy (PACE) loans may soon become available to the state’s homeowners again through the CaliforniaFIRST program. PACE financing is designed to promote the adoption of clean energy among homeowners and businesses by reducing the upfront costs associated with this adoption. Over the past three years, California’s PACE financing has been stalling because of conflicts with mortgage lenders. The CaliforniaFIRST program had, therefore, only been available to commercial property owners and multi-family housing units.

Changes to program being considered a victory for homeowners

The inclusion of homeowners into the CalifonriaFIRST program is being considered a major victory among state officials. The program will allow homeowners to apply for loans concerning making their homes more energy efficient. The loans will also help cover the costs associated with the adoption and installation of new energy systems, such as rooftop solar panels. These loans will be paid back over the course of several years through increasing property tax.

PACE programs throughout the United States are losing some momentum due to ongoing political battles

California is not the only state where PACE financing exists. PACE programs have, however, lost much of the momentum that they had in the past due to ongoing political reasons. In Florida, for example, PACE financing stalled because federal housing lenders were barred from participating in the program itself. There are also concerns that homeowners do not understand the risks involved in PACE programs and how foreclosures can affect these programs.

State officials to work to make PACE program more robust in coming years

While concerns regarding PACE financing have yet to be fully resolved, California officials believe that they have found a temporary solution to the CaliforniaFIRST program. As the program works to cater more to the needs of homeowners, state officials will continue to work on the program in order to resolve the issues it faces in the future. It is expected that more than 160 cities in 17 counties throughout the state will find strong financial support through the changes made to the PACE financing program.

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