Patrick, certainly solar thermal is another great addition to a farm for hot water sanitation and other hot water applications, but solar PV is still very valid for the list of applications mentioned above. Electric fences, dairy processing, irrigation pumps, etc, can't be run on solar thermal. Of course, any energy efficiency measure should be applied, where possible and with available capital.
Joe, I'm not sure of the details of the Palm Desert Program, but I think you're referring to residential PACE, which has had its troubles with Fannie Mae. Commercial is a different matter, as Fannie and Freddie MAC do not finance commercial properties. Of course, everyone should do their due diligence. Regarding the interest rate, if you have stellar credit, you'll certainly get a better rate. Commercial PACE loan interest rates may not be that high, especially if you have good credit. If you have poor credit, then 7% is actually very good. In fact, so long as your utility savings are more than PACE payment, it's a great deal, especially if you have some credit problems. Thanks for your comments.
Derek, thanks for the extra info! Appreciate it.