Monthly Archives: August 2011

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Wednesday, August 31st, 2011 – LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – On Aug. 23, the Board of Supervisors approved California PACE™ (Property Assessed Clean Energy) financing for Lake County.

Under Assembly Bill 811, California property owners in special assessment districts may enter into voluntary contractual assessments against their properties to finance a range of authorized energy and water efficiency products.

FIGtree Energy Resource Company of San Diego will administer California PACE™ financing throughout Lake County.

California PACE™ utilizes bond financing to provide property owners fixed-rate, property value based, no credit check, no-money-down financing.

The financed amount is repaid over time through annual property tax assessments with the charge appearing as a line item on the property tax bill.

Energy efficient products can greatly reduce a property owners cost of energy and water. Products covered under California PACE™ financing include solar panels, high-efficiency windows and doors, HVAC systems, furnaces and boilers, lighting, insulated roofs and walls, water and pool pumps, water efficient irrigation systems, fuel cells and small wind turbines.

Industrial and commercial properties and residential properties greater than 4 units are eligible at this time.

Residential properties of four units or less with no mortgage liens or with loans not governed by the Federal Housing Finance Agencies (i.e. “Fannie Mae” and “Freddie Mac”) may also be eligible.

The primary goal of the PACE program is to lower energy consumption in the county and reduce the utility bills for property owners. The second goal is to create construction projects that can keep private contractors busy and their employees working.

To encourage the use of local contractors and vendors, the Board of Supervisors has approved waiving all or a portion of the County building permit fees if the work is performed by a local contractor or the equipment is furnished by a local vendor.

Only California PACE™ approved contractors may be used. However, any contractor is eligible to become a California PACE™ approved contractor on the condition they are licensed and in good standing, insured and agree to the terms of the California PACE Program.

To apply for financing or to become an approved contractor, contact FIGtree at 877-577-7373

Link to story:  http://lakeconews.com/content/view/21227/926/

Tuesday, August 30, 2011 – Palm Springs has launched a new residential property-assessed clean energy (PACE) program that, officials said, will circumvent some of the year-old federal restrictions that have stalled similar efforts across the country.

The catch is, to qualify for the program, homeowners must have paid off their mortgages or have “jumbo mortgages” of $500,000 or more that are not financed through Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, the country’s main home mortgage lenders.

“In this marketplace, lots of property owners are very conservative when it comes to their money,” said Michael Chapin, CEO of Figtree Energy Resource Co., the San Diego firm administering the Palm Springs program. “They are looking for smarter financing.”

PACE programs allow cities to provide affordable financing for homeowners who want to install solar panels or other big-ticket energy-efficient upgrades to their houses such as, for example, high-efficiency air conditioners or cool roofs.

Long-term repayments are added to residents’ property taxes, similar to assessments for public works such as sewers or underground utility wires.

Due to opposition from the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which sees the programs as a threat to the unsteady housing market, most residential PACE initiatives have been on hold since July 2010.

Palm Desert, which helped pass California’s PACE law in 2008 and started one of the first programs in the nation, still has such a program.

It has provided financing to 252 residents for home-energy upgrades to date, but only 25 since July last year, said Martín Alvarez, project manager.

Working around the FHFA restrictions, Palm Springs earlier this year launched a PACE program for commercial property owners, who are not affected by the federal restrictions. The residential program was rolled out earlier this month with a small mailing to about 4,000 residents who meet the tighter qualifications.

“We didn’t send letters to everyone,” said Michele Mician, the city’s sustainability manager. “We have had a couple people that were disappointed that they couldn’t participate.”

The city is working with Figtree to come up with an energy upgrade financing program for a broader range of homeowners, she said, but cautioned it is too early to say when it might be available. In the meantime, Nate Otto, president of Hot Purple Energy, a rooftop solar installer in Palm Springs, said he’s already fielding calls about PACE from interested property owners who have paid off their mortgages, though no contracts have been signed.

“It’s a great way to go into it,” he said. “No money at all down; you get whatever product you want to get and they don’t have to qualify. It’s really simple.”

K Kaufmann covers energy and green technology, retail, and health care for The Desert Sun. She can be reached at k.kaufmann@thedesertsun.com

Link to story http://www.mydesert.com/article/20110830/BUSINESS04/108290339/Palm-Springs-tweaks-its-help-homeowners

August 16th, 2011 – With a vote by the Lake County Board of Supervisors, California PACE™ financing is now available to property owners in the County of Lake.

Under California Assembly Bill 811, California property owners in special assessment districts may enter into voluntary contractual assessments against their properties to finance energy-efficient products. The financed amount is repaid over time through annual property tax assessments, the charge appearing as a line item on the property tax bill.

California PACE™ (Property Assessed Clean Energy) offers property value based financing at a fixed rate. Applicants do not submit a credit check and there is no down payment.

The administrator of California PACE™ is Figtree Energy Resource Company, located in San Diego, California. Both residential and commercial property owners can find general information, disclosures and applications at www.figtreecompany.com.