Sunday, June 13, 2010

A New Way to Finance Solar Gardens

PACE bonds finance renewable energy for homeowners

Tired of high utility bills? Want clean energy? Don't want to take out an equity loan, if you could even get one?

With Gov. Bill Ritter's signature, SB 100, the Property Assessed Clean Energy financing bill became law June 11.

Joy Hughes, founder of The Solar Gardens Institute,, sees the bill as as way more people can access clean energy.

Solar Gardens work through a subscription service supported by the community of users. The group owns the solar panels and each member gets the benefits, from utility rebates to the use of the electricity.
“State Sen. Gail Schwartz championed this expansion of Property Assessed Clean Energy financing programs, such as Boulder's ClimateSmart,” Hughes said. “A solar garden subscription can be purchased using home value. The home owner makes the purchase through their property tax bill and receives credits on their electric bill.”
In this case, the subscription stays with the home rather than moving with the subscriber.

PACE bonds create a method for municipalities and counties to basically “loan” money for energy improvements like solar, wind, biomass or other small-scale generation projects.
Homeowners pay back the loan as payments with property taxes.
PACE is not a tax increase, just a financing mechanism used in many states.  The debt to the city stays with the home since the solar panels will.  If you move, the new owner takes on the payments.
Boulder County already has a PACE program in place called "ClimateSmart".

State Sen. Gail Schwartz spoke of the challenges the Assembly and the governor's office faced in creating the New Energy Economy.
“So many great minds came together to find a compromise and opportunity. We (in Colorado) will be known for renewable energy.”

PACE encourages local generation of renewable power, decreasing the need for transmission lines.
“It's great to see easy financing for solar garden subscriptions through the PACE program,” Hughes said. “This will help many home and condominium owners clear one of the biggest hurdles to going solar.”

SB100 was one of 57 laws made during Ritter's term furthering renewable and clean energy and creating jobs related to the renewable energy industry.
In four years, more than 300 solar companies have formed or expanded into Colorado.

For more information about The Solar Gardens Institute, contact Hughes at 719-207-3097 or

About Solar
The Solar Gardens Institute organizes communities to go solar by pooling their resources. Libraries and schools, churches and synagogues, businesses and citizens groups can benefit by hosting a distributed power plant where anyone can own solar panels. advocates for community-based distributed energy at federal, state, and local levels. Solar Gardens are self-organizing everywhere, beginning to transform America through solar power and people power.

Media contacts: Greg Ching, or Robyn Lydick,

1 comment:

  1. Developing solar gardens is a novel idea and it will be a great service to the society. Tapping renewable energy is the key to protect our environment and planet for our future generation.
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