By Roy L Hales
A little more than two years since it was launched in Riverside County, the Home Energy Renovation Opportunity (HERO) Financing program is on the verge of an expansion that will make it available to 70% of California’s population.
“The past two years have confirmed that California cities are deriving great economic benefits from the HERO program,” said Dean Hollander, HERO spokesperson. “We’re excited to be expanding into more than 100 California communities in 2014.”
Homeowners who receive HERO financing, for Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE), repay the debt through property taxes and the interest is tax deductible. This investment will stay with the property, if the homeowner sells, and the annual payments are often much lower than their current electric bills. Furthermore, the rate is fixed and that means a lot at a time when utility bills keep getting bigger.
HERO officially entered San Bernardino County during October 2013, but started lining up solar companies a month before that. The installers immediately sought out customers and millions of dollars worth of work were waiting by the time HERO officially launched.
The same thing is happening in San Diego right now. The cities of Carlsbad, Oceanside, Vista, San Marcos, Solana Beach and Lemon Grove have all opted to offer homeowners HERO PACE Financing. HERO has set up classes for contractors who want to utilize their program.
“I believe this will have a huge impact on the solar industry, home performance and HVAC,” said Ken Jutso, of ASI Heating and Air. “We had an introduction to the program last week. We have 3 day long trainings this week. Chula Vista is scheduled to have their own version by March.”
“Baker Electric Solar is excited about the opportunity to serve HERO-approved San Diegans. We’ve been installing HERO financed solar systems in Riverside County cities for the last two years,” said Baker Electric Solar President, Mike Teresso. “It’s great to now be able to work with homeowners and businesses in our own backyard. HERO provides an innovative financing solution that delivers energy savings, lower electric bills, reduced emissions, and increased property values.”
Sullivan Solar Power has issued a news release in which it states, “An informational HERO Financing seminar will be held on March 22, at the Oceanside Public Library from 11 a.m.- 12 p.m. ”
The program is about to enter more than 100 cities throughout California. HERO is moving onto the Sacramento area and Southern Los Angeles County. The cities of Fresno, San Jose, and Newport Beach are all coming into the program.
HERO PACE can accommodate up to 3 million additional households in 2014.
In the 25 months since the HERO program first started, $200 million dollars have been allocated and an additional $300 million has been approved. Most of that went into Riverside county, but $110 million worth of applications have been approved in San Bernardino County.
A number of solar contractors appeared today before the council in Bakersfield, to ensure that the residents of their city are among them.
(Photo at top of page: PURE Solar Power at the home of San Diego’s East County Solar Guy! )