County Supervisors help property owners finance energy upgrades

SAN DIEGO COUNTY — The county of San Diego has selected multiple providers to offer financing as part of the newly approved Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program. The new program is designed to make energy- and water- efficiency upgrades affordable. Residential and commercial property owners can lower their utility bills and increase their property values with financing that attaches to their property tax bill.

Carlsbad, Solana Beach, Oceanside, San Marcos, Vista, Escondido, Lemon Grove and San Diego are among the county cities that either currently offer the program or have adopted it. County adoption expands service availability to residents in all unincorporated parts of the county.

The county has approved the Home Energy Renovation Opportunity Program (HERO), FigTree Financial and California First. These institutions provide financing, while also directing property owners to a choice of authorized contractors who have experience installing energy- and water-efficiency upgrades.

Attaching the financing of energy and water efficiency upgrades to the property tax bill is referred to as “property-assessed, clean-energy” financing. The San Diego County Board of Supervisors approved participation in multiple PACE programs, adopting an “open PACE marketplace” approach, wherein several companies have been selected to serve the community. This creates a competitive environment where service providers are pushing themselves to provide exceptional service and products to the community.

“Residential PACE gives our county unincorporated residents a great opportunity to install energy-saving devices on their homes. It also puts people to work and really helps to stimulate our economy,” said County Supervisor Dave Roberts. “Residential PACE will result in energy and water savings for County residents, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

“It’s great to see the county of San Diego taking an open market approach by offering multiple PACE programs,” said Dustin Reilich, HERO Director of Municipal Development. “Property owners will more quickly learn about the advantages of PACE and get to choose the program that best fits their needs, and the community will see greater results.”

One advantage of using the property tax bill to amortize investments, such as solar installations, is that the cost of the improvement integrates with the property tax bill. In the event an owner decides to sell the property, any remaining debt typically transfers to the new property owner, although the debt can also be paid off at the time of sale, if so desired.

 

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