Berkeley PACE Program
Congratulations, Berkeley-ites! You live in a city that supports property tax solar financing.
How does Berkeley’s municipal solar financing program work?
In a nutshell, the city’s Berkeley FIRST program allows homeowners to pay for solar panels through property tax bills over a 20 year period. The loans carry a fixed interest rate and stay with the house–so if you move, the next tenant continues to pay for the loan through property taxes. That means you don’t have to worry about paying for panels on a house that you don’t live in anymore. The minimum financing amount for solar systems through the initiative is $5,000 and the maximum is $37,500.
That sounds great! How is Berkeley able to do this?
Berkeley was the first city in California to start up municipal solar financing initiative. Since the Berkeley FIRST Program was launched in 2008, cities like San Diego and Sacramento have gotten on board with similar initiatives. Berkeley’s program also spurred California’s AB811 law, which allows loan programs to pay back investments in renewable energy systems through property tax payments.
Is the solar financing program available now?
Applications for Berkeley’s solar financing pilot program aren’t available at the moment, as all 38 spots in the Berkeley FIRST program were quickly snatched up. The city is evaluating whether another round of funding for a second solar initiative can be made available, so stay tuned. To receive updates and new application period announcements, sign up to receive email notifications from the Berkeley FIRST office.
In the meantime, join 1bog’s group purchase for solar energy in the Bay Area! You can also calculate the cost benefit savings from the Berkeley FIRST program here and view Berkeley FIRST’s solar map, which allows Berkeley residents to compute their solar potential or list their solar installation. For residents who need technical assistance regarding solar, please contact the SmartSolar program of Community Energy Services Corporation for a free consultation.