A new study by Berkeley Lab found that residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (R-PACE) programs increased deployment of residential solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in California, raising it by about 7-12% in cities that adopt these programs. R-PACE is a financing mechanism that uses a voluntary property tax assessment, paid off over time, to facilitate energy improvements and, in some jurisdictions, water and resilience measures.
While previous studies demonstrated that early, regional R-PACE programs increased solar PV deployment, this new analysis — Assessing the PACE of California residential solar deployment — is the first to demonstrate these impacts from the large, statewide R-PACE programs dominating the California market today, which engage private capital to fund the upfront costs of the improvements.
Berkeley Lab estimated the impacts using econometric techniques on two samples:
- Large cities only, allowing annual demographic and economic data as control variables
- All California cities, without these annual data
Analysis of both samples controls for several factors other than R-PACE that would be expected to drive solar PV deployment.
Berkeley Lab infers that on average, cities with R-PACE programs were associated with greater solar PV deployment in our study period (2010-2015). In the large cities sample, solar PV deployment in jurisdictions with R-PACE programs was higher by 1.1 watts per owner-occupied household per month, or 12%. Across all cities, solar PV deployment in jurisdictions with R-PACE programs was higher by 0.6 watts per owner-occupied household per month, or 7%. The large cities results are statistically significant at conventional levels; the all-cities results are not.
The estimates imply that the majority of solar PV deployment financed by R-PACE programs would likely not have occurred in their absence. Results suggest that R-PACE programs have increased PV deployment in California even in relatively recent years, as R-PACE programs have grown in market share and as alternate approaches for financing solar PV have developed.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy-Building Technologies Office supported this research.
PACE funds energy upgrades to buildings that create jobs, make properties more valuable, and help states achieve policy goals. It’s 100% voluntary and it’s being adopted in every region of our nation.
Mike March 29, 2018During the PACENation Summit in Denver, keynote speaker Abigail Hopper, president & CEO of SEIA, explored the PACE program’s potential to open new markets, key means to increase solar usage and the tariffs on imported solar panels.
Day two of the PACENation Summit kicked off in Denver on Tuesday with a keynote address from Abigail Hopper, president & CEO of SEIA, the national trade association for the solar industry. Hopper spoke on the present and future of the solar market before shifting her focus to ways that the solar industry and PACE have worked together, and how they can grow and enhance the relationship between the two industries in the future.
It has been a turbulent year for the solar industry. The current White House is more inclined to support traditional forms of energy, a position made abundantly clear when the Trump Administration announced a 30 percent tariff on solar imports in January of this year. Solar installations fell sharply in 2017, although a hefty portion of that can be attributed to the anticipation of an expiring tax credit that accelerated installation for much of 2016. Hopper also cited a “playbook on how to undermine solar” for the opponents of the solar industry to follow when engaging with state and local governments, which has arisen over the last couple of years. This is to be expected. As solar is beginning to eat into the market share of traditional energy companies, push-back was inevitable.read more