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County set to approve ways residents can finance energy improvement costs

County set to approve ways residents can finance energy improvement costs


San Joaquin County residents are one step away from applying for energy-efficient improvement financing.The San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will consider approving Renovate America, Inc., and Renew Financial as program providers for the Property Assessment Clean Energy Program for unincorporated areas of the county to take effect Feb. 1, 2016.Renovate America, Inc., and Renew Financial were two of 64 firms the county contacted to provide long-term financing to residents so they can install renewable and energy efficient improvements in their homes.

The firms provide the Home Energy Renovation Opportunity and CaliforniaFIRST programs, the two most well-known in the renewable energy market.Ray Hoo, a senior planner with the San Joaquin County Community Development Department, said if approved Tuesday, residents will be able to apply for the CaliforniaFIRST program immediately.But staff will need to send all required HERO documentation to the Western Riverside Council of Governments, the agency overseeing enrollment and implementation of the program.Once documentation is filed in early February, it will take as many as 60 days before the HERO PACE program can begin and residents can apply in unincorporated areas of the county, Hoo said.

According to the staff report, the community development department also received proposals from Figtree Financing and the Ygrene Energy Fund. But because they did not submit anticipated financial documents to county staff, their applications were not considered, Hoo said.

There were just four proposals received by the deadline, according to staff.

The PACE program allows residents to apply for full financing for energy efficient amenities such as solar panels or drought tolerant landscaping on their property.Once the amenities are installed, residents begin paying the PACE loans back through property taxes over about 20 years.According to the staff report, both programs are similar when it comes to financing rates. The HERO program offers 6.75-8.35 percent financing, while CaliforniaFIRST offers rates from 6.75-8.39 percent, staff said.

CaliforniaFIRST offers financing from five to 25 years, while HERO financing lasts five to 20 years.

Staff reported that HERO has financed 48,169 projects worth $972 million, while CaliforniaFIRST has approved just 11,363 projects totaling $322.3 million.The average HERO program project costs about $20,173, and the average CaliforniaFIRST program project costs about $28,361, according to staff.The cities of Lodi, Manteca, Ripon, Stockton and Tracy have already enacted the PACE program, and the 2015-2016 Property Tax roll was the first time program assessments were included.According to the San Joaquin County Auditor-Controller’s office, there are 337 active property assessments through PACE on the Property Tax Roll.

Fifty-four of those are financed through CaliforniaFIRST, and 283 are through HERO.

Anand Gupta Editor - EQ Int'l Media Network


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