Solar Pace Financing; Fanny and Freddie Still Standing In The Way

Yep, Fanny and Freddie have not gotten out of the way and is still impeding the progress of solar installers and other sustainable energy jobs. Yep, we are still writing about how wall street is still sabotaging main street for their own personal gain.

If we didn’t have enough proof that U.S. cities are far ahead of the federal government on building low carbon solar and sustainable economies, here’s more evidence: The city of Palm Desert, California, is committing $25,000 to a nationwide lobbying push to rescue the solar finance program Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE).

Palm Desert isn’t asking the feds for help; it’s essentially asking them to stay out of the way of the city’s innovative solar program to make energy-efficiency retrofits and rooftop solar arrays affordable to homeowners. PACE works by letting property owners pay for these energy-saving improvements through a surcharge on their property tax bills. This lets owners avoid prohibitively high upfront costs and ensures that the debt, along with the improvements, stay with their property if they sell or move.

Twenty-five states had passed bills encouraging towns and counties to set up solar financing programs, before Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac came out last summer against the programs, saying they present a risk to mortgage buyers (more background here).

Since then, environmental groups and the coalition PACE now have tried to get the program back in action through legal challenges and legislation. None of that has yet succeeded, and most PACE programs have been shut down. Palm Desert’s is one of the few that continues, with the city warning participants about the controversy with Fannie and Freddie. California cities creating solar installers positions, helping homeowners put more money back into local economies creating local jobs.

The Palm Desert city council approved the $25,000 (and nearly approved twice as much) as part of a $240,000 lobbying push led by the green consulting firm Eco Motion. “If you want to get the job done and start to put some bling back into the economy, you need to have Palm Desert in a leadership role,” Council member Cindy Finerty told the paper.

With the U.S. House and Senate unwilling to pass a climate plan, and even unable to salvage a promising locally led finance tool, Palm Desert’s efforts are a reminder that plenty of government officials want to lead on clean energy – they’re just not in Congress.

Source Sustainable Industries By: Jonathan Hiskes