To help residential homes benefit from photovoltaic energy, both the Feds and the State of California instituted programs to finance the purchase of solar panels. The federal government program, started in 2007, is called the Property Assessed Clean Energy Program, also known as PACE. PACE assists homeowners to finance renewable energy installations or energy improvements for their homes, but it is also available for commercial properties.
What Makes PACE Different
As the name suggests, PACE is different from a standard loan in that it’s linked to your property assessment. You pay it back over time with your property taxes through voluntary assessments. This means the program payments are attached to the property rather than the individual. And that makes sense since the panels are attached to your home, not you.
The financing is based on an existing government structure known as a local improvement district. The local government issues bonds to fund projects like streetlights and sewer systems. Using funds set aside for PACE, a property owner can implement improvements without a large up-front cash payment, thanks to help from a local municipality.
Of course, this means you pay more when your property tax comes due. Although you avoid a monthly loan payment on your solar panels, it’s important to prepare for this usually biannual increase. If you sell your property, the repayment obligation usually transfers with the property ownership. Therefore, it is part of the necessary disclosures when selling your house. And if you have a mortgage, you probably need to get approval for PACE financing from your lender.
Picking Your PACE
In California, there are ten active PACE programs. This allows for competitive options in lenders. By considering how much you will likely save on your electric bill month after month you have an idea of how much you can readily afford to finance. In effect, the solar panels have the potential to pay for themselves!
If you still have questions about PACE, solar installations, or even the SunPower solar panels Solaron uses exclusively, we are prepared to answer all of your questions! In the Bay Area, you can reach us at 408-292-4328, and in the Sacramento area we are waiting to hear from you at 916-631-9293. You can also fill out our online form with whatever questions you have, and even request a free, no-obligation solar assessment. Let’s see how PACE can work to bring solar power for your home!