In 2008, the City of Berkeley launched the Berkeley Financing Initiative for Renewable and Solar Technology (FIRST), a program to promote solar photovoltaic (PV) installations using a pioneering financing mechanism. The now concluded pilot program served as a model for Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs across the country.
PACE Financing: PACE offers accessible financing to make important building improvements that can lower energy bills. The advantages of the PACE financing:
- There is relatively little up-front cost to the property owner
- The cost for the solar system is paid for through a special tax on the property, and is spread over 20 years
- The financing costs were comparable to a traditional equity line or mortgage
- Since the solar system stays with the property, so does the tax obligation-if the property is transferred or sold, the new owners will pay the remaining tax obligation
PACE Financing Programs: The Berkeley FIRST pilot program has concluded but there are other PACE financing options that are now available. To learn more see: PACE financing.
- CaliforniaFIRST:The CaliforniaFIRST program is available now to Berkeley property owners.
- HERO: The HERO program is expected to start offering financing in Berkeley in Spring of 2015.
Berkeley FIRST Documents
Legislation to establish Berkeley FIRST:
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