City of Berkeley - Financing Initiative for Renewable and Solar Technology (FIRST) (California)

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Last modified on September 25, 2013.

Financial Incentive Program

Place California

Name Berkeley - Financing Initiative for Renewable and Solar Technology (FIRST)
Incentive Type PACE Financing
Applicable Sector Commercial, Residential
Eligible Technologies Photovoltaics
Active Incentive No
Implementing Sector Local
Energy Category Renewable Energy Incentive Programs

Terms Up to 37,500 per installation

References DSIRE[1]


Berkeley's Financing Initiative for Renewable and Solar Technology (FIRST) allows property owners to borrow money from the city's Sustainable Energy Financing District to install photovoltaic (PV) systems and repay the cost over 20 years through an annual special tax on property tax bills. The program is being administered by Renewable Funding LLC. On-line applications were accepted between 9:00 a.m. on November 5, 2008, and 9:00 a.m. on November 19, 2008. The first application period was for the pilot program and Berkeley expects the program to initially fund 40 installations. Applications that were not accepted during the pilot phase will be put on the waiting list for the next round of applications.

The FIRST Program will provide financing up to $37,500 per installation for either residential or commercial properties. Payments will be made through a special tax on the participant's property tax bill. If the owner moves out of their house during the 20 year repayment period, the property tax assessment and the PV system remain with the property. This removes one key disincentive for PV.

Program participants are required to apply to the California Solar Initiative (CSI) rebate program, which will help off-set the total cost of the solar project. The FIRST program does not reduce the amount of the rebate available through the CSI program. Participants should consult a tax professional to determine whether income deductions or tax credits may be claimed on personal taxes.

Incentive Contact

Contact Name FIRST Administrator - Renewable Funding

Address 1746 Broadway, 3rd Floor
Place Oakland, California
Zip/Postal Code 94612
Phone (510) 451-7900

Contact Name Berkeley FIRST Program
Department City of Berkeley
Division Office of Energy and Sustainable Development
Address 2120 Milvia Street
Place Berkeley, California
Zip/Postal Code 94704
Phone (510) 981-7494


  • Incentive and policy data are reviewed and approved by the N.C. Solar Center's DSIRE project staff.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1  "Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE)"