The big story in solar recently — one of them, at least — was the decision earlier this week by the New York legislature to allow local governments to enter the solar-payback-through-property-tax business. (See our story on the NY law, here.)
I’d like to report that the concept is simple and implementation is a snap. I’d like to, but I can’t. It’s complicated.
The organization Vote Solar probably has the most helpful collection of advice and explanation for dealing with the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program, as it’s called in New York. (Unhelpfully, the essential program goes by different names depending on the state.)
We’ll be devoting more in-depth coverage to this important topic. But to start out, since it’s in the news now, we’ll point you toward what is a growing resource online, and not just for solar power: the Webinar. It’s a seminar, usually live speakers who can take questions from people participating online, generally accompanied by a slide show or Power point presentation.
There were two good examples, recently, dealing specifically with financing solar projects.
The first, held yesterday, was organized by the Department of Energy specifically to help recipients of stimulus funds (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act — ARRA) use that money for a PACE program.
The speakers included representatives from local governments who have already gone through the process — in San Francisco, and in Boulder (CO) and Sonoma (CA) Counties.
How PACE Benefits homeowners
Just as an example, one slide in the DOE program listed the following benefits:
- No upfront cost to the property owner
- Payments fixed for 20 years
- Customer chooses contractor/installer
- Property tax transfers to the new owner when the property is sold
- Utility bills decrease due to energy savings
- Credit analysis is on the property, not the person
How PACE benefits cities and counties
Another slide analyzed the PACE program, but this time, from the perspective of local governments:
- Helps cities and counties meet their climate and energy goals
- Program costs can be paid out of the financing
- No liability or other exposure to a city’s general fund
- Financing mechanism well known to local governments and bond market
- Promotes the “green” economy, creates green jobs.
“Attending” webinars live is preferable, since it allows you to ask questions by typing them into a kind of instant-messaging box, and then receiving the answer, spoken by the expert.
If you missed the live webinar, you can still download a pdf file of the on-screen visual presentation, here.
Webinar #2: Solar Power: Potential Boom in the Midwest
The other example also took place yesterday, Novermber 18th. The discussion here was sponsored by the Environmental Law & Policy Center, based in Chicago with offices throughout the Midwest.
While example #1 was tailored for a special professional group wherever they live, example #2 focused on a geographical region, the Midwest, and was valuable for people there regardless of their profession.
Currently, there’s no list of upcoming solar webinars that’s complete. But it’s still possible to find a slew of them simply by using Google with the key terms +webinar and +solar.
[If you run a Website that produces solar webinars, send us a link to your schedule in the reply box below, or on Twitter to @thephoenixsun.]