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Green Building News

Sonoma County Will Provide Loans For Energy Retrofit Work

The Sonoma County government is offering loans to homeowners and commercial property owners for energy-efficiency improvements and solar equipment installations. This photovoltaic array graces the roof of a Sonoma County winery, Preston Vineyards in Healdsburg.
Image Credit: Chris Kantos

Both Homeowners and Commercial Property Owners Are Eligible

SANTA ROSA, Calif. — The Sonoma County government has launched a program to offer loans to homeowners and commercial property owners for energy-retrofit work and the installation of renewable-energy equipment.

Similar municipal or county-funded finance programs exist in Boulder County, Colorado; Berkeley, California; and Palm Desert, California. Today San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom announced that San Francisco will soon launch a similar loan program.

According to the Press Democrat, Sonoma County will provide loans at 7% interest to homeowners for a variety of projects, including photovoltaic arrays, solar water heaters, energy-efficient windows, on-demand water heaters, insulation, and low-flush toilets. The minimum loan amount is $2,500. Borrowers will have up to five years to repay loans up to $5,000. Loans over $5,000 are considered long-term loans, with repayment schedules that can stretch out over 20 years.

Loan Payments Are Tacked Onto Property Tax Bills

Homeowners will repay loans by means of premiums added to property tax bills. If a property is sold, the new owner will become responsible for the loan payments.

Sonoma County will commit $100 million to the new Energy Independence Program. “It’s going to create energy improvements, jobs and help get this economy going,” said County Controller Rod Dole. “We’ve been getting phone calls for weeks. The interest has been phenomenal.”

According to supervisor Shirlee Zane, other counties and municipalities are considering similar programs. “We are going to be a model for the whole country,” Zane said.


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