Note: The Federal Housing Financing Agency (FHFA) issued a statement in July 2010 concerning the senior lien status associated with most PACE programs. In response to the FHFA statement, most local PACE programs have been suspended until further clarification is provided. After temporarily suspending their program, Palm Desert reinstated it in August 2010, but with a new requirement. Property owners who wish to participate in this program now must sign an additional disclosure statement, which describes the FHFA's concerns and confirms that the property owner understands the potential risks if they choose to participate in this program.
The City of Palm Desert worked with the California Legislature to pass AB 811, which gave Palm Desert the authority to enact their Energy Independence Program (EIP). The program allows property owners in Palm Desert to borrow money from the city for energy projects at their home or facility, and to repay those loans through increased property taxes. The program was started using $2.5 million from the city's general fund. All funds for phases 1, 2 and 3 of the program have been allocated. On February 8, 2010, Palm Desert launched the newest funding round with $6 million. Half of the amount will be reserved for efficiency projects, with the other half dedicated to solar projects. All EIP loans $60,000 and higher must be approved by the city manager.
EIP loans do not require a down payment and the interest rate initially will not exceed 10%. Loans are primarily intended to fund solar installations and a wide range of efficiency projects in existing buildings, but are also available for owners of new homes and businesses that wish to add energy improvements after they take title to the property. The city's Office of Energy Management administers the program and will provide energy checks at interested owners' properties. The city staff member will identify and review with the property owner all potential energy improvements, their estimated costs and their estimated energy savings.