SANTA CRUZ - Local contractors coping with the recession hope a new initiative to finance residential energy improvements will give their business a much-needed boost.
"I'm excited to see this," said Ron Jones of Sustainable Home Solutions in Santa Cruz. "It's going to benefit the economy. We'll burn less energy and homes will be more comfortable."
Painting contractor Ron Myer and custom-finish carpenter Chris Williams are getting trained to do energy efficiency retrofit work. Williams is taking two classes at Cabrillo College, one on home performance audits and another on photovoltaics. Both are full.
"I hope this works out for us," said Williams.
The Property Assessed Clean Energy initiative from CaliforniaFirst would provide loans to homeowners to invest in a solar installation, which can cost $12,000 after rebates and incentives, and pay the money back over time with their property tax bill.
More than three dozen people squeezed into the Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce conference room Thursday to find out more.
Participants include 14 counties, 146 cities, the Royal Bank of Canada, bond counsel Jones Hall & Orrick and Renewable Funding, a company headed by financier Stephen Compagni Portis and Cisco DeVries, who championed a pilot solar project while working in Berkeley City Hall.