News Release


DATE: December 8, 2009

CONTACT: Jen Stone, Jacob’s Office (619) 531-4766 or Erica Holloway, Slater-Price’s Office (619) 531-5857


Jacob, Slater-Price want to help property owners afford the upfront cost of rooftop solar

SAN DIEGO – San Diego County moved a giant step closer toward helping unincorporated area residents more easily afford rooftop solar electric systems and other energy efficiency projects.

At the urging of Chairwoman Dianne Jacob and Vice Chairwoman Pam Slater-Price, the Board of Supervisors agreed unanimously to join forces with more than a dozen California counties planning to launch a statewide solar financing district.

The goal is to finance installations of rooftop solar electric systems and allow property owners to pay the cost over a period of 20 years on property tax bills. The application process could begin as early as June 2010.

“Our county is among the sunniest corners in the nation. Our region has not even begun to tap into the potential for rooftop solar. Upfront solar financing is going to help us chart that course,” said Chairwoman Jacob who represents East County on the Board of Supervisors.

The County will spend $25,000 to enroll in what is known as the CalforniaFIRST program. The effort is offered through California Communities, a joint powers authority sponsored by the League of California Cities and the California State Association of Counties. Renewable Funding LLC and RBC Capital Markets will help administer and finance the program.

“We’re tapping into a program that will use the strength of a statewide pool of participants to keep costs as low as possible,” said Vice Chairwoman Slater-Price. “We are going to lower energy bills, cut fuel costs and clear the air at the same time.”

California Counties will work directly with interested homeowners to process applications, determine eligibility, and provide customer services.

To lower costs, the program is seeking Federal Stimulus dollars thought grants from the California Energy Commission.

A handful of local cities have expressed interest in joining the effort. CaliforniaFIRST has determined that the participation of local cities is contingent on the County’s participation.

To learn more about CaliforniaFIRST, visit