PACE Makes Going Solar Easier for Orange and San Diego County Homeowners


As the housing market improves, residential PACE programs return in some cities. Homeowners in Orange County can now participate in PACE and also get a cash rebate for going solar.

Updated 2/11/14

An improving housing market has led to a comeback for Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs, particularly in California. The programs let homeowners pay off solar and energy-efficiency measures through a loan that’s part of their property tax bill. The advantages of this kind of loan are that the interest is tax-deductible, and the investment stays with the property when a homeowner moves.

Back in 2010, when the housing market was weaker, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were spooked by the program, because its lien on property taxes took precedence over mortgage liens.


While the program continued for commercial projects, for residential solar it was for the most part at a standstill except in a few cities — until recently. Now, we’re hearing about more PACE programs opening up.


Today, the Orange County Solar Program, administered by Sullivan Solar Power, announced that it is providing residents in select cities throughout Orange County the opportunity to finance solar through PACE. The Orange County Solar Program is adding to this by providing cash-back incentives that allow residents to get up to $2,000 back for going solar.


The Orange County Solar Program, launched in January 2014, is available to all property owners in the county. The incentive program is modeled similarly to the former state rebate program, with early adopters receiving the biggest incentives. The initiative is limited to 500 participants.


The local government-sponsored PACE program, also known as HERO Financing, is available in the cities of Anaheim, Brea, Buena Park, Garden Grove, La Palma, Newport Beach, Placentia, Santa Ana, Tustin, and Westminster.


“Property Assessed Clean Energy is a game-changer for Orange County property owners who have thought about going solar,” said Daniel Sullivan, president and founder of Sullivan Solar Power.


Given the importance of good financing options for solar, that’s probably true.


UPDATE: The program is also available in the San Diego County cities of Carlsbad, Oceanside, Vista, San Marcos, Solana Beach, and Lemon Grove. The Home Energy Renovation Opportunity (HERO) Financing through Renovate America program there also launched on February 10.