County plugs into statewide financing effort
San Diego County moved a giant step closer toward helping unincorporated area residents more easily afford rooftop solar electric systems and other energy efficiency projects.
At the urging of Chairwoman Dianne Jacob and Vice Chairwoman Pam Slater-Price, the board of supervisors agreed unanimously to join forces with more than a dozen California counties planning to launch a statewide solar financing district.
The goal is to finance installations of rooftop solar electric systems and allow property owners to pay the cost over a period of 20 years on property tax bills. The application process could begin as early as June 2010.
“Our county is among the sunniest corners in the nation,” said Jacob, who represents Ramona, Julian and East County as District 2 supervisor. “Our region has not even begun to tap into the potential for rooftop solar. Upfront solar financing is going to help us chart that course.”
The county will spend $25,000 to enroll in what is known as the CalforniaFIRST program. The effort is offered through California Communities, a joint powers authority sponsored by the League of California Cities and the California State Association of Counties. Renewable Funding LLC and RBC Capital Markets will help administer and finance the program.
“We’re tapping into a program that will use the strength of a statewide pool of participants to keep costs as low as possible,” said Slater-Price. “We are going to lower energy bills, cut fuel costs and clear the air at the same time.”
California Counties will work directly with interested homeowners to process applications, determine eligibility and provide customer services.
To lower costs, the program is seeking federal stimulus dollars through grants from the California Energy Commission.
A handful of cities in the region have expressed interest in joining the effort. CaliforniaFIRST has determined that the participation of the cities is contingent on the county’s participation.
To learn more about CaliforniaFIRST, visit www.renewfund.com.
- County wants to help homeowners finance renewable energy
- Jacob pushes for residential solar energy buyback plan
- County sues state for money
- County hopes new bill will spur home solar, wind
- Solar water heating pilot program ends Dec. 31
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