Add Solar now, Pay Later with your Property Taxes: Innovative Sonoma County program provides property owners with financing for Energy Efficient Improvements

filed under: Sellers posted on April 22nd, 2009

One of the biggest problems with solar and other alternative energy systems and home energy conservation projects in general is that the upfront costs can take months or years to recoup in the form of lower utility bills. Plus, if a property owner is not sure they will be in the structure long enough to realize those benefits, there is even less incentive to make an investment, especially in our current economy.

But reduced consumption of energy immediately benefits the planet, leading to less pollution and a reduced carbon footprint.  Unfortunately the environmental benefits don’t reconcile immediately with short term financial outlay. One new program designed to address this problem head on. The Sonoma County Energy Independence Program (SCEIP) is billed as “HOT, COOL and GREEN!”

An overview of the program was the subject of a story in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.
Conserve now, pay later

A brief overview from the SCEIP web site:

Program Specifics:

Participation in this Sonoma County program is completely voluntary.

Energy efficiency, water conservation and renewable energy generation upgrades must be permanently attached to the property to qualify. Items not permanently attached such as dishwashers and other appliances are not allowed. Improvements like insulation, cool roofing, heating and air conditioning systems, waterless urinals, solar panels and energy efficient windows are acceptable.

Improvements must be for existing buildings, new construction does not qualify.

Assessments are a lien on the property itself: when the property is sold, the assessment stays with the property.

Repayment is made through your property tax bill over time.

Participating in the Sonoma County Energy Independence Program is easy. First decide how much makes sense to invest in energy and water efficiency or renewables for your home. Then fill out our application and follow a few simple steps (outlined below.) Before you know it, you’ll be realizing a monthly energy savings on your bill.

The lowest interest rate currently offered on the SCEIP website is 6.75%, but there is some talk of additional funds being made available to subsidize lower rates to make the payments more affordable.  There is a calculator at the site so you can see what possible payments might be.

For more information on Solar Resources in Sonoma County visit “Solar Sonoma County” http://www.solarsonomacounty.com/index.html

posted by Pam Buda // 6 Comments »