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Yolo County Manager of Public Affairs
Beth Gabor
625 Court Street, Room 204
Woodland, CA 95695
Phone: (530) 666-8042
FAX: (530) 669-4029
E-mail: beth.gabor@yolocounty.org

Yolo County has Another Option to Finance Energy and Water Upgrades…

Post Date:08/06/2014 10:03 AM

CaliforniaFIRST is a public-private partnership that makes billions of dollars in private capital available to California homeowners for energy improvements, water efficiency upgrades, and renewable energy investments -- with costs repaid as part of property tax bill 

CalFirst Eligible Products 

Yolo County, CA – It’s now much easier for California homeowners to tackle rising energy costs and water shortages while growing California’s economy. Beginning in August, thousands of Yolo County homeowners will have a new way to access an innovative type of financing through CaliforniaFIRST – allowing for no money down solar systems, energy upgrades, and water efficiency projects. Consumers can learn more at CaliforniaFIRST.org.  

CaliforniaFIRST is the largest Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program in the United States. It allows homeowners to secure upfront funding for home efficiency projects, which they repay through a special line item on their property taxes for up to 20 years. It is operated under the auspices of the California Statewide Communities Development Authority (CSCDA), which is sponsored by the California League of Cities and California Association of Counties. With its formal launch on August 5, CaliforniaFIRST is now available through a partnership with 17 counties covering 142 cities (and growing) to utilize PACE funding. CaliforniaFIRST is entirely funded by private capital – with no financial risk to local government partners.

If just 1% of homeowners in the 17 county area of the CaliforniaFIRST program completes an energy-saving PACE project, those PACE projects would save 28,000 MWH of electricity and generate 76,000 MWHs of renewable energy; reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 29,600 metric tons; and create more than 5,000 jobs. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, 29,600 tons of avoided or reduced CO2 emissions is equivalent to taking 6,200 cars off the road, or eliminating the burning of 31.8 million pounds of coal, or avoiding the use of 69,000 barrels of oil. Projects funded by CaliforniaFIRST also generate significant reductions in water consumption. The cumulative impacts from 1% of owner-occupied homes in the 17-county area utilizing water-saving measures would add up to over 800 million gallons saved per year. These measures would add only $1,400 to a project's cost, with water and associated energy savings (from reduced water heating demand) paying back the investment in less than ten years.

“PACE financing has enormous potential to reduce energy use, improve our environment and create local jobs,” said Yolo County Board of Supervisors Chair Don Saylor. “I’ve heard from many local residents that they’re looking for a way to reduce their water usage in response to the drought. This program can help finance home improvements that can decrease water usage significantly.”

“It’s great the CaliforniaFIRST program will be offered in Davis and throughout the rest of Yolo County, making options for energy efficiency improvements affordable for many homeowners,” said Davis Mayor Dan Wolk. “CaliforniaFIRST will allow homeowners to add value to their homes, while at the same time saving on their utility bills. Take the benefits for the individual homeowner and the unique public-private partnership, and the program is a ‘win’ for everyone involved.”

“Homeowners and their contractors are one phone call away from making their dream project a reality,” said Cisco DeVries, CEO of Renewable Funding, the Oakland-based company that runs CaliforniaFIRST. DeVries, who pioneered the innovation of Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) in Berkeley added, “It has been a long time coming, but it is finally possible for nearly all homeowners to save energy with solar or by replacing their old furnace, roof, or windows with new energy efficient ones.”

Under the CaliforniaFIRST program, homeowners will be able to choose a qualified contractor and install a custom-tailored clean energy project—including the purchase and installation of heating and cooling systems, solar panels, low-flow toilets, home insulation, windows, and roofs. Through PACE, property owners’ repayment is secured through a special tax assessment repaid by the homeowner through the property tax bill over up to 20 years. An extensive list of the types of home improvements eligible for this financing can be found in the enclosed attachment.

Homeowners, Contractors and Communities Can Now Be a Part of the Bigger Picture

The PACE financing mechanism was first pioneered by the City of Berkeley for its residential owners in 2008 and has since spread to over 30 states. Over $200 million in commercial and residential PACE financing has transacted in California – a number poised to grow dramatically with the launch of CaliforniaFIRST.

In addition, CaliforniaFIRST has partnered with leaders in the home efficiency and renewable energy across the state to make this tool available to millions. These include collaborating with home improvement contractors with both local and statewide footprints ranging from Clean Power Finance to ABC Heating and Cooling. This also includes working with contractors that are part of the Electric and Gas Industries Association, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions through the home improvement and renewable energy industries.

Numerous studies in recent years have pointed to the lack of attractive financing options as one of the key barriers that prevent homeowners from making energy saving improvements on their homes. With CaliforniaFIRST, many people view the state of California as having the greatest potential to expand the promising energy efficiency and renewable energy market.

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About CaliforniaFIRST

CaliforniaFIRST is an innovative public-private partnership that helps homeowners finance energy saving improvements. More information is available at californiafirst.org. Interested consumers or contractors can call (844) 589-7953 from 9am to 6pm Monday thru Friday (PST). CaliforniaFIRST is available in the following California counties (Alameda, Fresno, Kern, Marin, Monterey, Napa, Sacramento, San Benito, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Tulare, Ventura, and Yolo). Visit CaliforniaFIRST.org for more information.
Renewable Funding

Renewable Funding specializes in design, administration, technology, and financing solutions for clean energy upgrade programs. Since 2008, the firm has worked with over 200 clients across the U.S. to structure and administer financing programs to help homeowners and business owners reduce their energy and water use. Visit RenewFund.com.

About California Statewide Communities Development Authority

The California Statewide Communities Development Authority (CSCDA) was created in 1988, under California’s Joint Exercise of Powers Act, to provide California’s local governments with an effective tool for the timely financing of community-based public benefit projects. CSCDA was created by and for local governments in California, and is sponsored by the California State Association of Counties and the League of California Cities. Currently, more than 500 cities, counties and special districts have become Program Participants to CSCDA. Visit cacommunities.org

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