Company News Archives - Independent Green Technologies

Home loans for clean energy coming soon

After six years of lawsuits that went all the way to both the U.S. and Florida supreme courts, Leon County will finally be able to offer low-interest loans to homeowners in the unincorporated areas who want to install energy-saving and environmentally friendly equipment.

The County Commission has approved an agreement with the Florida Development Finance Corporation to administer the Property Assessed Clean Energy program. It should be available to residents by early October, said Maggie Theriot, director of the Office of Resource Stewardship for the county.

A program for commercial properties will launch in January.

Loans will be based on the value of an applicant’s property, she said. Owners can get up to 90 percent of the fair market value of their home to buy solar panels, reflective roofing, energy-efficient heating and air conditioning units and other equipment, Theriot said.

The loan is attached to the borrower’s property taxes and paid with his tax bill at a fixed rate over time. It will be available to all property owners in both the city and unincorporated areas.

The county tried launching the program in 2010, when former commissioner Cliff Thaell advocated a program for unincorporated residents similar to what city residents enjoyed through the city utilities department.

Leon is unusual because it has only one incorporated city with its own electrical utility.

“About three-quarters of property owners can get reasonable financing through the city’s electric utility,” Theriot said.

No such loan program was available for the other 25 percent of the county’s homeowners, she said. The county has about 280,000 residents.

“We were approached by sustainability and environmentally minded people who wanted to reduce their energy load,” Theriot said. “We had no other tool or mechanism for doing that.”

The county drew up a list of 100 potential customers for a pilot program to offer in-depth energy audits when the Federal Housing Finance Agency filed a suit against Leon County and other governmental entities across the country that were launching similar PACE programs.

The housing authority objected to the program because it placed a senior lien on the property.

“We were in midstream when that lawsuit was filed,” Theriot said. “It was chopped off at the federal level.”

While the case wound its way through the federal court system, Leon County shifted focus to creating a commercial loan program.

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The county had identified a third party provider, YGrene Energy Fund, to oversee the program in 2012, and a year later authorized a $200
million bond issuance to finance the loans.

That stopped when state bankers filed suit in state court. The Florida Supreme Court ruled in the county’s favor in 2015.

Renovate America, a private lender out of California, developed a model that doesn’t require it to be the primary lien holder. It agreed to subordinate its lien to the existing mortgage holder. It also agreed that if a homeowner got behind on payments, the funder could only call on the amount immediately owed, and not the full amount of the loan.

On July 12, the Leon County Commission, acting as the Energy Improvement District, approved an agreement with the FDFC that authorizes PACE financing. FDFC will negotiate with Renovate America to start a pilot program locally under its Home Energy Renovation Opportunity program.

County manager Vince Long said in a news release that this program will help people lower their utility bills, raise property values, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and “put people to work.”

Renovate America will train and certify solar, roofing and plumbing contractors to offer their services to successful loan applicants.

“By becoming the first jurisdiction in Florida to open its doors to the HERO Program, Leon County together with the City of Tallahassee will enable tens of thousands of its residents to access a unique and powerful home improvement tool,” FDFC PACE Program manager Ryan Bartkus said in a news release.

If it succeeds, the FDFC will also contract with other lenders, including YGrene and the Clean Fund.

Matt Chentnik, who owns IGT Solar, has waited six years for this program to launch. He was trained and certified by YGrene and ready to go when the commercial program got held up in court.

“We’re all for it,” Chentnik said. “Anything that can help a customer go solar or do any energy efficient upgrade is a good thing.”

Jeff Schweers, Democrat correspondent 8:33 p.m. EDT August 5, 2016

Solar Power & Benson’s Corporate Sustainability Initiative

In 2014, we had the privilege to work with Benson’s Heating and Air in Tallahassee, FL to have their facility become energy neutral. In their Spring/Summer 2015 newsletter, they shared a bit of insight into their experience so far. See the solar installation services we provided on our commercial portfolio.

Here is what they had to say:

Renewables and energy efficiency are important to BENSON’S. We are constantly looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint all the while doing our best to be good stewards of our environment. That’s why in September 2014 we installed roof-top mounted solar panels that convert sunlight into direct current electricity.

This new 72kW solar array has neutralized our electricity costs and even generates enough electricity to cover our monthly water bill in months that have better than average sunny days.

“A local company, Independent Green Technologies, did a fantastic job installing 292 solar panels each producing a maximum of 250 watts each and are guaranteed to produce clean energy for 25 years.”

Commercial Solar Installation Review

The panels harness the powerful, completely free, Florida sunshine and convert it into the electricity we use throughout the day. Our utility meter measures energy use and actually turns backward putting power back into the grid when our solar-powered system generates more power than is needed.

This excess solar energy then offsets energy needed at night or on rainy days. A monitoring system continuously tracks energy production and allows us to view data that shows how much we are saving in energy costs.

With very little maintenance needed, other than annual cleaning, a solar power system was a great corporate investment to make BENSON’S a “clean” energy company.

The reduction in our utilities expense also helps ensure we continue to offer the best prices to our customers.

IGT Awarded Contract From FSEC

Floridians are well versed in the challenges associated with natural disasters.

Many residents and shelters make use of fossil fuel-powered generators to provide power when the electrical grid has been compromised; obtaining fuel following the storm can be a challenge, however.

Independent Green Technologies (IGT) was awarded a contract from the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) to install seven (7) turnkey, 10 kW Photovoltaic Systems at schools designated as Emergency Shelters (E-Shelters).

The E-Shelter Program has added more than one MW of combined photovoltaic generating capacity to Florida using American-made components.

One Megawatt Can Power One Thousand Homes

Three (3) of the seven installations were grid tie only and the remaining four (4) were grid tie with a 1215Ah battery back-up system.  On an average day of Florida sunshine, these systems will produce approximately 48kWh of clean energy.

Grid Tie Photovoltaic

Photovoltaics are a natural complement for fossil-fuel generators; they are ready to support the shelter when the sun is shining and can work with the on-site generators to provide electricity when there are special needs.

Grid Tie Photovoltaic System

Photovoltaics can provide clean, silent power for:

Call Independent Green Technologies for your clean energy needs assessment: 877.IGT.SOLR, or contact us online.

Clean Energy Technology Center

In mid-2013 IGT Solar came in and completely renovated an old energy-sucking warehouse, and turned it into a self-sustaining showroom / office space for the Clean Energy Technology Center and Independent Green Technologies.

Located at 3954 West Pensacola Street, you can come in and see for yourself all of the products and services that were delivered and installed for this building.

Here’s a brief list of what you’ll find:

  1. Over 30 235-watt Canadian solar panels. These can be found in three different systems, including a ground mount, a ballast rack, and a roof array.
  2. 25 250-watt MAGE solar panels across the front of the building.
  3. LED ceiling lights throughout the building.
  4. Enphase microinverter system to track the energy produced per panel.
  5. Truseal duct-work to seal the leaky ducts.

In addition to the 14kW that have already been installed, there are plans to install a vertical-axis wind turbine, an electric car charging station, and a geothermal HVAC system. All of these products and services have been key in taking the building from an energy-drainer to a zeroed-out energy producer!

Another great feature of this building is the custom-made conference table in the front lobby; which consists of four recycled Canadian solar panels. You can go in and see for yourself what our solar panels look like, and feel how well-built they truly are.

The Clean Energy Technology Center is a great place to go to see first-hand the many products and services IGT offers. If you have any questions about incorporating clean energy into your home or business, stop in and let us show you what we can do for you. Our experienced and professional staff would be more than happy to assist you in turning your home or business into an energy-producing, money saving resource.