Lest you wonder whether the housing market will ever recover in the U.S., now comes word that the nation’s two largest mortgage lenders – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – have effectively killed solar financing. What next, you might ask?
Property Assessed Clean Energy loans (commonly known as PACE), which allow homeowners to install solar panels or make other renewable energy or efficiency improvements through low-interest loans that are paid off through a voluntary increase in property taxes, are no longer available in California.
Whether the other 20 states that provide for PACE programs will also be affected remains to be seen.
The decision last week follows a court ruling that seems to be responding to the announcement of the Federal Housing Financing Agency (FHFA) that claimed PACE programs could not take precedence over primary mortgage loans. In a cautionary move, California pulled $30 million in federal stimulus funds that were originally earmarked for PACE programs in 5 counties.
Sadly, the programs would have resulted in the creation of 4,400 green jobs, while offsetting 187,000 tons of CO2 emissions over the next 2 years.
So, what next?
California AG, Jerry Brown, has filed a lawsuit against the FHFA in an effort to save PACE. Beyond that, U.S. Congressional Representatives are introducing legislation to override the FHFA.
There are three main activities that you can engage in to help out.
- Contact your Member of Congress and Senators today – and urge them to pass legislation immediately to save PACE
- Contact your local newspaper
- Pass a resolution in your city or county supporting PACE
California Governor Schwarzenegger’s California Recovery Task Force has requested full reallocation of the PACE funding by September 30, 2010.
Stay tuned to find out what happens next with PACE programs….