The City of Berkeley’s Financing Initiative for Renewable and Solar Technology (FIRST) is doing a pilot program that allows property owners to borrow money from the city’s Sustainable Energy Financing District, in order to install photovoltaic (PV) systems.
Repayment of the loans is done over a period of 20 years, through an annual special tax on property tax bills.
The program, which is administered by Renewable Funding LLC, was accepting on-line applications from November 5, 2008 through November 19, 2008. The first application period of this pilot program was to allow funding for forty installations. Applications that were not accepted during the pilot phase have been put on the waiting list for the next round of applications.
The FIRST Program will provide financing of up to $37,500 per solar power installation, for either residential or commercial properties. Payments will be made through a special tax on the participant’s property tax bill. This has the added benefit that if the owner moves out of their house during the twenty year repayment period, the property tax assessment and the PV system remain with the property, and not with the individual. This has been implemented in order to facilitate the ease of long-term investment into solar power electrical systems.
Program participants are required to apply to the California Solar Initiative (CSI) rebate program, which will help off-set the total cost of the solar project. The FIRST program does not reduce the amount of rebate available through the CSI program. Participants should consult a tax professional, to determine whether income deductions or tax credits may be claimed on personal taxes.
Further details can be found on this website: http://www.cityofberkeley.info/ContentDisplay.aspx?id=26580
You can also contact FIRST directly for additional information.
FIRST Administrator – Renewable Funding
1746 Broadway, 3rd Floor
Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: (510) 451-7900
Web site: http://www.berkeleyfirst.renewfund.com/