Wednesday, July 20, 2016

New support coming for grassroots solar program, PACE


A year ago, Gov. Chris Christie issued a conditional veto
that cut the heart of legislation that would have e
nabled property owners in New Jersey to obtain 10 to 30-year private financing (through special assessments attached to municipal property taxes).

That financing would have covered 100 percent of the cost of the installation of clean energy and resiliency improvements without any initial investment by the property owner.

Those involved with the national PACE (Property Assessment Clean Energy) program explain that it gives property owners the ability to install more extensive systems than they likely could afford under traditional financing programs and that the resulting saving in energy costs often outpaces the financing costs from day one of the project.

NJ Gov gets bill to boost private, clean-energy investment

Now the Obama administration is trying to bring it back to life

writer Heather Smith explains:

The Property Assessed Clean Energy program, known as PACE, was created in 2007 when Berkeley, California, realized the same tools used by neighborhoods to pay for big projects like street paving could also be used to pay for installing solar panels. People in homes with panels had to pay more in property taxes, but they saved money through lower energy bills.

They started “acting like East-Coast bankers,” said Gov. Jerry Brown of California, on a White House call to announce the plan. “After the mortgage meltdown, they’re so fearful they won’t step up to the plate.” PACE didn’t go away, but it was frozen, like Han Solo in carbonite.
So, how to fix this? As part of its “Clean Energy Savings for All” initiative, the Obama administration persuaded the Housing and Urban Development Agency and the Department of Veterans Affairs to support the program. As a result, the pool of people who can get a mortgage to buy a house with PACE-funded solar panels has widened to veterans and anyone with a HUD-backed mortgage.
“They’re doing what Fannie and Freddie say you can’t do,” said Brown. “Someday Fannie and Freddie will get on board.”

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