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Massachusetts may join the rising number of governmental jurisdictions offering a popular way to finance solar photovoltaic installations: with loans repaid through tax assessments, according to Sunpluggers.com. In addition to solar PV systems, solar water-heating equipment and other energy-efficiency measures are often eligible for funding.
A bill that may soon be taken up by the state legislature would allow cities and towns to loan funds to property owners for solar arrays and collect payments on property-tax bills. The municipality would hold a lien on the property. Such programs are designed to entail little or no long-term cost to the government that sponsors them.
A California law enacted in 2008 first established this mechanism for funding solar, which has a high initial cost if purchased outright because decades of electricity production are bought in advance.
Various versions of the program - often called Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE funding - have since spread to Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin, according to the group pacenow.org. Legislation is also pending in Arizona and New York state. Florida and Hawaii are believed to have the authority to institute PACE programs without changes to state law.
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