A rooftop solar system is an expensive up-front investment. The typical 5 kW system costs about $20,000 – or $14,000 after the 30 percent investment tax credit (which expires on Dec. 31, 2016). Solar leases and loans have made it possible for hundreds of thousands of homeowners to go solar without any initial up-front investment. Now there is a new solar financing product called PACE that makes it easy for just about any homeowner to qualify for a low interest solar loan.
PACE stands for Property Assessed Clean Energy. A PACE loan is repaid as part of a homeowner’s annual property tax assessments, and is automatically transferred to the new owner as part of the property. For example, a $20,000 rooftop system could be repaid in 15 annual tax bill payments of about $1,500. If the home were sold after ten years, the new owner would simply take over the remaining five years of principal and interest payments. Interest rates and terms on PACE loans are about the same as standard bank loans. Since the loan is secured, interest payments (and sometimes principal) are tax deductible. What’s the hitch? PACE loans are not yet available everywhere. But as they proliferate, PACE loans will become another popular way to finance rooftop solar.
My guest this week is Cisco DeVries, CEO of Renewable Funding. Cisco pioneered the use of PACE financing for rooftop systems in Berkeley in 2007, and is now working to roll out PACE for both residential and commercial installations all over the U.S. Please Listen Up to this week’s Energy Show for more details on how a PACE loan could work on your own home – or your next solar project.
About The Energy Show
As energy costs consume more and more of our hard-earned dollars, we as consumers really start to pay attention. But we don’t have to resign ourselves to $5/gallon gas prices, $200/month electric bills and $500 heating bills. There are literally hundreds of products, tricks and techniques that we can use to dramatically reduce these costs — very affordably.
The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World is a weekly 20-minute podcast that provides tips and advice to reduce your home and business energy consumption. Every week we’ll cover topics that will help cut your energy bill, explain new products and technologies in plain English, and cut through the hype so that you can make smart and cost-effective energy choices.
About Your Host
Barry Cinnamon is a long-time advocate of renewable energy and is a widely recognized solar power expert. In 2001 he founded Akeena Solar — which grew to become the largest national residential solar installer by the middle of the last decade with over 10,000 rooftop customers coast to coast. He partnered with Westinghouse to create Westinghouse Solar in 2010, and sold the company in 2012.
His pioneering work on reducing costs of rooftop solar power systems include Andalay, the first solar panel with integrated racking, grounding and wiring; the first UL listed AC solar panel; and the first fully “plug and play” AC solar panel. His current efforts are focused on reducing the soft costs for solar power systems, which cause system prices in the U.S. to be double those of Germany.
Although Barry may be known for his outspoken work in the solar industry, he has hands-on experience with a wide range of energy saving technologies. He’s been doing residential energy audits since the punch card days, developed one of the first ground-source heat pumps in the early ‘80s, and always abides by the Laws of Thermodynamics.
Lead image: Green microphone. Credit: Shutterstock.