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California FIRST Financing Program for Solar Through Property Taxes

Last week San Diego County Supervisor, Dianne Jacob, announced participation in the California FIRST program.  This program establishes long-term financing for solar energy systems in unincorporated areas of San Diego County.  The repayment of these loans is covered under annual property tax bills.

This reminds me of when Mayor Sanders announced his plan a year before it was even ready to be rolled out.  This creates confusion in the marketplace and causes homeowners to stall their solar installations pending details of these creative financing options; possibly losing money on decreasing CSI rebates.

The interest rates associated to loans secured by property taxes are greater than conventional mortgage rates.  If a homeowner is interested in financing their solar system and has access to equity, they would basically receive the same tax deductibility but get much lower interest rates.  The financing source that Jacob and Sanders offer should only be utilized if there are no other ways to finance a solar installation.

With the cost of financing the rooftop solar electric systems attached to property tax bills that need to be repaid within a twenty-year period, San Diego homeowners are relieved from making the upfront full payment. Under the program, if the homeowner sells her property then the new owner must now repay the loan.

Believe me, I am not complaining about this new financing source.  In fact I commend anybody who is trying to promote the solar industry.  I just want San Diego homeowners to be aware of all of their options when installing or financing their solar electric systems.

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