Part 3 of a 3 part series briefing Western Riverside property owners on solar financing now available through the largest U.S. property accessed clean energy (PACE) program.

Electricity is a growing expense for many businesses; taking up to 30 percent of a typical office building’s operating costs.

With energy rates expected to continue to rise, it makes good business sense for commercial property owners to upgrade their buildings with solar power, particularly with new financing made available to buildings within western Riverside County, officials told a group of property owners at a recent breakfast co-hosted by Helio Energy Solutions at the Bear Creek Golf Club in Murrieta, CA.

The Western Riverside Council of Governments (WRCOG) has launched the nation’s largest financing program to help residential and commercial property owners’ pay for the installation of solar panels and other building improvements that will save energy.

Two programs are available. The Commercial Energy Retrofit Application provides financing for small and mid-sized commercial projects that produce less than 125 kilowatts of power. Large commercial projects producing more will be financed through WRCOG’s Commercial Properties Energy Program. Both are based on California’s Property Assessed Clean Energy legislation enacted through AB 811.

“If you combine that with the rapid rise of energy costs for commercial properties in Riverside County, you have a situation where now solar more than pays for itself. It allows companies to lock in their rate and fix their rate for a twenty year period,” said Jean Dunn, managing director for Structured Finance.

“The big question is how do you pay for it? Because, unfortunately, we’re in a world where most businesses and most property owners are cash constrained. And one way that we think is a terrific way to pay for it is PACE. PACE stands for Property Assessed Clean Energy. We provide up to 100% financing for energy improvements and for solar. That allows you to reduce your cost of energy and lock in those rates. The assessment that’s associated with the PACE financing ranks ahead of all private debt and is part of your property tax.”

What’s available through the program?
• Up to 100 percent financing with terms of up to 20 years
• Zero percent down in many instances
• Locked-in energy costs for between 25 and 50 years

What do you need to qualify?
• Clear title on the property
• Mortgage payments up to date
• Current on property taxes
• At least 20 percent equity in the property
• Cost of improvements cannot exceed 50 percent of the mortgage amount

“We are all going to be seeing much higher electric bills in the future,” said Steve LoRusso, vice-president of commercial sales for Helio Energy Solutions.

Helio Energy Solutions has developed a process that emphasizes ease and efficiency.

In partnership with WRCOG and Structured Finance, the other co-host of the event, Helio Energy Solutions can help to identify incentives such as tax credits, rebates and other subsidies.

“We’re going to make sure that your project is cost effective,” he said, “and monitor and manage it to ensure productivity long into the future.”

WRCOG Executive Director Rick Bishop said he anticipates that many commercial building owners will be able to get the work down with net costs at zero. “In fact,” he said, “it will probably be a benefit to companies to install solar on their commercial buildings.”

For more information about the commercial PACE program, visit Visit Structured Finance at To learn more about the products and services available through Helio Energy Solutions, visit www.Helio Energy

Disclaimer: The information contained herein is accurate to the best of our knowledge and we make no representation as to its accuracy or completeness.