The State has created a $10 million reserve fund to reimburse mortgage lenders. The fund would repay the lenders if people who finance clean energy projects through property tax payments default on their loans.
Evan Westrup with Governor Jerry Brown's office says the Federal Housing Finance Agency prohibited mortgage lenders Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae from accepting additional liens for homeowners who wished to finance PACE projects.
"The main concern of the Federal Government was around the financial liability and potential cost if these properties fell into foreclosure," says Westrup.
Jonathan Gemma is with Aztec Solar in Sacramento. He says solar companies have lost business because mortgage lenders wouldn't agree to additional liens to repay clean energy projects.
"Now if there is this reserve fund in place was able to ease concerns of that mortgage lender that there is some backing to this," he says, "they would allow the PACE financing to go and this opens up the opportunity to more people to be able to finance energy efficient equipment."
Besides solar panels, eligible equipment under the PACE program includes low-flow toilets, insulation, and energy-efficient light fixtures.
The mortgage loss reserve program will be run by the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority.
An estimated 60,000 people will take part in California's biggest one day volunteer effort on Sept. 20, and anyone can participate.
El Niño is not expected to end the California drought but ‘atmospheric rivers’ might help.
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The Sacramento Municipal Utility District's shade tree program has been around for 25 years. In spite of the drought, the utility says it will continue to fund the program for at least another two years because of the benefits trees provide.
Environmental groups say the recent California Legislative session was a big win for coastal protection, clean water among other issues.