1 more option OK’d to finance energy-efficient upgrades

SOLANA BEACH — Property owners now have another option to finance permanent energy-efficient improvements to their homes after council members at the March 11 meeting agreed to participate in the Ygrene Works Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE, Program.

PACE allows property owners to buy water-conservation or energy-efficient upgrades and pay for them over time through an additional assessment on their property tax bills.

There are more than 50 product categories to choose from, including everything from artificial turf and solar panels to tankless water heaters and window filming.

Property owners must live in a city that participates in a PACE program, which Solana Beach agreed to do in late 2013.

The interest rate depends on the length of the loan, which can be paid over time or in full at any time.

The city already allows such financing through CaliforniaFIRST, Figtree and Home Energy Retrofit Opportunity, also known as HERO.

In addition to supporting development of renewable energy sources and installation of energy and water efficiency improvements that protect the environment, participation in PACE programs is believed to reduce energy costs, increase property values and provide jobs.

There are no financial obligations or risks to the city. Participation in all four programs is nonexclusive so the city can add others when they become available.

“The inclusion of competing programs would provide greater options and potentially greater benefits to the property owners,” the staff report states.

The regional director for Ygrene is Crystal Crawford, a former Del Mar councilwoman.

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