Home to more than just SeaWorld and a world-class zoo, the metropolis of San Diego is also one of America’s top clean energy cities, pulling in 27 percent of its electricity through biogas, small hydro and solar power. San Diego County itself is also a solar superstar, leading the state in California Solar Initiative (CSI) applications: from the beginning of 2007 to January 6 of this year, it received a total of 57.4 megawatts’ worth of applications for solar installations, comprising 12.8 percent of the total.
Good news for residents of San Diego County: a new program will soon make it easier to finance the installation of a solar photovoltaic (PV) system. The Financing Initiative for Renewable and Solar Technology (FIRST) program will permit homeowners to borrow money from the municipal government to install solar panels, then will allow them to repay the funds over 20 years through an annual surcharge on their property tax bill. More generally, the approach is called Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing.