Green jobs and green careers are all the talk over the past couple of years – particularly solar energy jobs. Despite all of the hype around this amazing technology, solar energy panels generate less than 1% of America’s energy. The price of solar power systems and a lack of government support have been major roadblocks to the growth of the solar energy movement. That may be about to change!
Solar jobs may be coming soon partly because, according to a recent Los Angeles Times article, momentum is growing around the country for a Berkeley-born program called PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy). PACE lets you buy solar for your house and, rather than having to pay the solar energy company up front for the solar panel installation, you can get a loan from your local municipality that gets attached to your property taxes! This allows you to lock in your energy bills at today’s rates (which keep rising for the rest of us), pay for your solar power system over time AND tie the bill for the solar power system to your property. This means if you decide to move to a new house, you won’t be on the hook for the remaining payments on the solar power system that you’re leaving behind. Had you paid cash up front to the solar energy company, you would have been out of luck. With PACE, once you move away, the new owner of your property receives the benefit of the solar power system you installed and is responsible to continue making the payments for that system. Big banks like Wells Fargo are helping to set up the financing for the municipalities. As more state and local governments pass PACE legislation, more residents are likely to jump from using an electric grid that burns coal, oil and gas to having solar electric systems installed. The greater the demand for those solar electric systems, the more solar jobs that will be coming soon. Check out the full Los Angeles Times article by Steve Gelsi called “Getting Solar on PACE” here.