OAKLAND, Calif., | CaliforniaFIRST —
Los Angeles County homeowners will now be able to make energy efficiency, renewable energy and water efficiency improvements to their properties through the CaliforniaFIRST program, which was one of the 2 administrators selected by Los Angeles County earlier this year through a competitive RFP process.

CaliforniaFIRST is a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program for residential properties and has been adopted by more than 300 local governments across California.

Residential property owners throughout Los Angeles County can now take advantage of this affordable and easy process to finance energy and water upgrade projects.

CaliforniaFIRST makes energy and water efficiency projects more affordable and accessible for California homeowners by providing upfront project financing that is then paid back as a line item on the property owner’s annual property tax bill. This type of financing is unique in that it is based on the homeowner’s home equity, not based on their FICO score or income. If the homeowner has at least 10 percent equity in the property, the homeowner can simply apply online at californiafirst.org or by phone at 844-589-7953 and find out within minutes, how much they could qualify for and get approved that same day.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas sponsored the legislation to bring PACE to Los Angeles County. “Los Angeles County is poised to help residents take part in the green economy,” Ridley-Thomas said. “The PACE program will provide homeowners with an efficient, cost-effective and practical approach to financing renewable energy, water efficiency and energy efficiency improvements. This program is a win-win-win. It will create jobs, lower utility bills and help reduce our carbon footprint.”

A conservative estimate of the impact of PACE financing shows that if just 1% of Los Angeles County homeowners completed an average $15,000 PACE project, it would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 21 metric tons, reduce electricity demand by more than 15,000 megawatt hours and create more than 1,000 jobs.

CaliforniaFIRST solves many of the financial hurdles facing property owners who want to increase the efficiency of their homes but may not have the cash or access to affordable financing through conventional channels. Through this program, homeowners can finance the purchase and installation of heating and cooling systems, solar panels, drought-resistant landscaping, double-paned windows, a cool performance roof, or better insulation, with repayment through their property tax bill over terms up to 25 years.

The CaliforniaFIRST program provides homeowners with a list of program-certified contractors serving their community, taking a lot of the worry and hassle out of finding a trustworthy, reliable company to work with.

Anders Dahl, CEO of CaliforniaFIRST certified contractor Verengo Solar, the nation’s third largest solar installer, said, “CaliforniaFIRST is a smart way to finance solar: it’s easy, affordable and transferable. We look forward to offering CaliforniaFIRST to our customers in Los Angeles County.”

CaliforniaFIRST residential PACE financing is available to homeowners in almost every local government jurisdiction in Los Angeles County.

Cisco DeVries is co-founder and CEO of Oakland-based Renew Financial, which administers the CaliforniaFIRST program. DeVries created the nation’s first PACE program in 2008 in Berkeley.

“We are working with cities and counties all over the state to help local governments meet both their climate action and local economic development goals by providing this important program to their constituents,” said DeVries. “Homeowners win by making crucial upgrades to their properties that increase property values and home comfort, while reducing utility bills.”

Derick Lila
Derick is a Clark University graduate—and Fulbright alumni with a Master's Degree in Environmental Science, and Policy. He has over a decade of solar industry research, marketing, and content strategy experience.

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