September 19, 2012 (San Diego)—A new state program to help business owners invest in solar and other energy-saving projects with zero up-front costs launched yesterday in San Diego County.
The Property Assessed Clean Energy Program (PACE) enables commercial property owners to use their properties as collateral for energy upgrades—and to pay off those costs through their property tax bills.
Funding is provided through CaliforniaFirst, a coalition of 126 counties and 14 cities. The money comes from private capital and sale of municipal bonds. Renewable Funding in Oakland will run the program.
The PACE program "gives businesses a great option for pursuing energy efficiency projects that may have previously been out of reach," Supervisor Dianne Jacob, who represents East County, said, KPBS reports. "The County's partnership with CaliforniaFirst provides a mechanism for participants to start spending less money on energy bills and more back into the business."
The program could generate an estimated 25,000 jobs in California. That includes solar energy installation jobs, which in San Diego County pay an average of $20-$40 an hour.
Application are available online at www.californiaFIRST.org or by calling (510) 692-9995.
Sierra Club's Desert Committee has launched an initiative seeking to restore a similar federal PACE program for residential homeowners. For details, see http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/node/11082 the article includes a link to a petition you can sign.