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Sep 172010
 

From Green Right Now Reports

Slapping a solar panel on the roof sounds so alluring. You can produce your own energy, slice your carbon footprint in a big way and not have to fret so much about vacillating energy costs. You’re home free.

Except that solar panels are far from free. While the cost of solar photovoltaics has come down considerable, a solar rooftop array remains in a rarifed price household category, right up there with cars. It will run in the ballpark of $15,ooo-$20,000, maybe more, even with home energy tax credits.

Which is why many businesses interested in moving the clean energy economy into action are angered that a program specially devised to make solar panels more affordable for homeowners has been hung up by red tape — and facing an uncertain future courtesy of the banking scandals.

This week, more than 300 businesses from across the U.S. signed a letter asking Congress to permit PACE funding to go forward.

PACE funding, which allows homeowners to repay financing for solar roofs over 20 years as an annual assessment on their property taxes, has been hung up by cautionary guidance from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).  This year the FHFA suspended many of the PACE programs already in place around the country over concerns that PACE debt could supercede money owed to mortgagors in the event of a foreclosure.

The businesses writing to Capitol Hill complained that the stalling of PACE has cost American thousands of jobs and “clouded the future of these programs indefinitely,” according to a news release.

“In PACE, we have an engine for creating new retrofit jobs in every community in America. We need to revive these programs and unlock investment in green, energy-efficient buildings that will save people money, save energy and create thousands of jobs,” said Jason Hartke, Vice President of National Policy at the U.S. Green Building Council, the primary organizer of the letter. “We urge Congress to put jobs first and move quickly to ensure that local governments can use this innovative investment tool to help boost local economies and save money for homeowners and businesses across the country.”

The letter, sent to all 535 members of Congress, asked for legislation to release PACE before the end of the fall Congressional session.

“We urge you to act expediently to pass legislation that would allow the PACE pilot programs to proceed – putting Americans back to work immediately and helping our consumers do the right thing – make property investments to reduce their carbon footprint and save money,” the letter stated.

According to the U.S. Green Building Council, greater building efficiency could supply 85% of future U.S. demand for energy and generate 2.5 million American jobs.