Solar Universe lauds HERO program

U.S. solar leasing company Solar Universe has predicted the HERO financing program adopted by dozens of cities and counties Southern California will see 15,000 residential and commercial rooftops installed this year.

Under the HERO program – a property-assessed clean energy (PACE) financing scheme which Solar Universe is part of – homeowners take out a HERO loan with the interest repayments collected by the relevant authority along with property taxes.

Eligibility for a HERO loan is based on the amount of equity homeowners have in their property rather than their personal credit rating and the interest repayments are personal-tax-deductible and offer users the 30% investment tax credit available for clean energy systems.

Joe Miller, executive vice president of Solar Universe, said the company running the HERO program, Renovate America, has predicted the 15,000 systems will add up to 90 MW of new solar this year, based on an average residential system size of 6 kW.

Miller added, the HERO scheme and other PACE programs could fund ‘several hundred thousand installations every year in the U.S.’ within ‘a few years’ with Renovate America predicting HERO financing could drive 400 MW of new solar in California alone by the end of 2016.

However, both Miller and Renovate America’s figures are predicated on a lack of resistance by mortgage lenders and, crucially, tax authorities at a time when the fossil fuel industry is said to be launching a nationwide drive against renewables in the country.

Miller added, the HERO program contributes to public funds with the authorities responsible for collecting loan repayments receiving management and transaction fees.

Solar Universe recently announced a tie-up with alarm systems company GHS Interactive Security which will see smarter energy use for domestic alarm systems.