DSIRE has just added property tax financing policies to the database.
These tax financing mechanisms allow property owners to borrow money to pay for renewable energy and/or energy-efficiency improvements. The amount borrowed by a property owner is usually repaid through an increased property tax assessment over a period of years. In general, local governments (such as cities and counties) that choose to offer property tax financing must be authorized to do so by state law.
“We’ve been paying close attention to this policy since about March or April, especially once Virginia and Oklahoma enacted Property Tax Financing Authorization,” said DSIRE’s Amanda Zidek-Vanega. Then four more states in May-we were excited.”
Initially, when DSIRE heard about the local programs, such as Berkeley FIRST, Palm Desert Energy Independence, and Boulder’s ClimateSmart Loan Program, staff included them under an existing ‘local loan’ category in DSIRE.
“Then, after researching these programs and learning about the enabling state level policies that would be required for this type of financing option to spread, we started paying greater attention,” said Zidek-Vanega.
The Berkeley FIRST program, the first of this kind of tax financing mechanism, opened on-line applications on November 5, 2008, and within six minutes, the quota had been met. Palm Desert’s Energy Independence Program sold out within one day.
According to Zidek-Vanega, DSIRE decided to include it in the database when eight states had enacted legislation creating ‘Property Tax Financing Authorization.’ To date, eleven states (CA, CO, LA, MD, NM, OH, OK, TX, VA, VT and WI) have enacted such policies since 2008.
DSIRE will focus on state-level policies instead of locally-implemented programs. The number of local governments who have already announced or intend to implement a Property Tax Financing loan program is quickly growing.
Summaries of each of each state policy are now available in DSIRE.