Berkeley’s Financing Initiative for Renewable and Solar Technology

Property assessed clean energy (PACE) programs allow property owners to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects on their home or business and pay the project cost back as a line item on their property tax bill over a 20-year period. This innovative financing mechanism was first piloted by the City of Berkeley in 2008-09. Berkeley’s pilot program, called Berkeley FIRST (Financing Initiative for Renewable Solar Technology), provided financing for solar photovoltaic (PV) installations and
is serving as a national model. Cities and states across the country are using the Berkeley FIRST model to launch solar and energy efficiency financing programs in
their communities. In California, a statewide PACE program called California FIRST is expected to launch in 2010; Berkeley will participate in the California FIRST program. California FIRST will include financing for not only solar PV, but also solar thermal, and energy and water efficiency improvements. Berkeley FIRST is a strategy of the Berkeley Climate Action Plan.