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FAQs

General Information

  1. What is the MPOWER program?
  2. Why is the MPOWER financing program needed?
  3. Who can apply for MPOWER financing?
  4. How does MPOWER financing work?
  5. How do I apply for MPOWER financing?
  6. How is my personal information collected and managed?
  7. What is the interest rate being charged for MPOWER financing?
  8. How long will it take before I know if I qualify for MPOWER financing?
  9. Can I use MPOWER financing for improvements on my house?
  10. My commercial business is located on the same parcel as my residence. Can I still apply for financing?
  11. If the property is owned by a corporation or in a trust can I still apply?
  12. Is my property eligible since it is located within the city limits?
  13. Are there limits on the amount of financing I can apply for? What are the terms?
  14. Does MPOWER also issue building permits for the improvements?
  15. Can I finance work that has already been started and/or completed?
  16. Do I have to use a designated contractor, or can I hire my own?
  17. How do I determine my property’s assessed value?

Program Finance Information

  1. What are the advantages to participating in the MPOWER program?
  2. Are there program fees associated with the MPOWER financing? If so, can I include them in the financed amount? How much are they?
  3. What is the repayment period? Can I request a shorter term?
  4. Can I participate if my property is under water?
  5. Can I finance my energy and water audit costs as well as engineering and design costs?
  6. What about rebates and tax credits for the improvements?
  7. Will my property taxes go up as a result of installing improvements?
  8. Once my project is completed how long will it take to receive payment?
  9. When does the County place the assessment lien or Mello Roos on the property?
  10. What will happen if I can’t make the payments?
  11. What will happen if I sell the property before the assessment is paid off?

Eligible Improvement Information

  1. What improvements can I finance?
  2. Can I finance solar leases or PPA agreements?
  3. Can I finance repairs associated with the installation of an improvement?
  4. I would like to reduce my company’s water use, particularly in the area of landscaping. Will MPOWER Placer finance xeriscaping (landscaping that conserves water)?

General Information

  1. What is the MPOWER program?MPOWER is a financing mechanism that allows property owners to install energy and water efficiency retrofits and renewable energy systems. (Renewable energy is energy that comes from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, and geothermal heat.) The financed amount is amortized and the annual amount due is added to the property tax bill.
  2. Why is the MPOWER financing program needed?Most buildings, with few exceptions, have not been constructed with a high degree of energy efficiency. As a result, these buildings are wasting energy, releasing greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, and costing property owners huge amounts of money for energy. MPOWER makes it easy and affordable to finance upgrades that will result in reduced operating costs.
  3. Who can apply for MPOWER financing?All residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, or multi-family residential (5 units or more) property owners located in any of Placer County’s incorporated cities or towns, the unincorporated areas of Placer County, or the City of Folsom who receive a secured property tax bill are eligible to apply. The following requirements must be satisfied:
    • Applicant must be the legal owner of the property described in the application or have the authority to encumber the property.
    • Property taxes are current with no notices of default within the last 3 years.
    • Property owner is current on mortgages with no notice of default within the last 5 years.
    • Property owner has not been subject to bankruptcy within the last 5 years.
    • Property must not be subject to any involuntary liens.
    • There are no recorded easements or covenants prohibiting the improvement.
    • For non-residential properties the current mortgage lender(s) has/have given consent for the MPOWER financing.
  4. How does MPOWER financing work?Property owners apply for financing of energy and/or water efficient upgrades for their home or business. If approved, the property owner and the County enter into an assessment contract. After the improvements have been installed and verified the County will pay the cost of the improvements and place an assessment lien or Mello Roos on the property. The assessment is amortized for 5, 10, 15, or 20 years, depending on the useful life of the product. The property owner repays the County for the improvements as an assessment on their property tax bill.
  5. How do I apply for MPOWER financing?There are currently two ways to apply: Download a pdf of the application, complete and mail to the address below, fax to (530) 889-4100, or email to mpower@placer.ca.gov, or apply in person at 2976 Richardson Drive in Auburn.
  6. How is my personal information collected and managed?We maintain the privacy of your personal information. Please refer to the Placer County Web Data Protection and Privacy Statement for details.
  7. What is the interest rate being charged for MPOWER financing?The current interest rate for MPOWER assessment financing is fixed at 6 percent.
  8. How long will it take before I know if I qualify for MPOWER financing?One of our program specialists will contact you within three business days of submitting your application to let you know, based on the accuracy of the information and completeness of your application, whether or not you qualify. If you have a non-residential property we will work directly with your lender to obtain the required acknowledgement for the MPOWER assessment lien.
  9. Can I use MPOWER financing for improvements on my house?Yes. The Residential MPOWER Program reopened on July 9, 2013.
  10. My commercial business is located on the same parcel as my residence. Can I still apply for financing?Yes. MPOWER is currently accepting applications for all residential, non-residential and mixed-use properties.
  11. If the property is owned by a corporation or in a trust can I still apply?Yes. Trust, corporation, or LLC documents showing that the applicant has the legal right to encumber the property are required at the time of application.
  12. Is my property eligible since it is located within the city limits?All residential and non-residential properties located in any of Placer County’s cities or towns, the unincorporated areas of Placer County or the City of Folsom are eligible to participate in the MPOWER program.
  13. Are there limits on the amount of financing I can apply for? What are the terms?Except in limited circumstances, the assessment lien cannot exceed 9.99% of the value (value = the assessment or market value, whichever is greater). The minimum amount eligible for financing is $2,500. Repayments are made over 5, 10, 15, or 20 years, depending on the useful life of the product. A shorter payback period may be requested. Projects less than $60,000 require staff approval. Projects of $60,000 to $500,000 will require MPOWER committee approval. Projects valued at over $500,000 will require Board of Supervisor’s approval.
  14. Does MPOWER also issue building permits for the improvements?No. All building permits are issued by the local authority.
  15. Can I finance work that has already been started and/or completed?No. Once labor associated with the projects has begun or if the project is completed it is no longer eligible for MPOWER financing. However, energy audits and estimates do not qualify as “started”. Therefore, any costs incurred in obtaining an audit can be included in the MPOWER financing.
  16. Do I have to use a designated contractor, or can I hire my own?MPOWER has no restrictions on the selection of a contractor. We will, however, verify that the contractor is licensed and bonded. We also offer guidance in the selection of a contractor at our informational seminar, a required element of our program.
  17. How do I determine my property’s assessed value?The amount of your property’s Assessed Value can be found on your most recent tax bill. Or you can visit the Placer County Assessors website; enter your parcel number in the Assessment Inquiry; click on Submit; select your parcel number and your property information will display.  City of Folsom customers should visit the Sacramento County Assessor’s website for their value.

Program Finance Information

  1. What are the advantages to participating in the MPOWER program?MPOWER applicants have enjoyed the following advantages over more traditional financing:
    • Easy to apply
    • No money down
    • Fixed interest
    • No credit reports are generated and the assessment does not appear on any future credit reports
    • Financing is based on the value of the property not on the applicant’s income
    • Financed amount is repaid on your property tax bill
    • Assessments not yet paid in full may be passed on to subsequent property owners
  2. Are there program fees associated with the MPOWER financing? If so, can I include them in the financed amount? How much are they?MPOWER incurs certain processing costs which are passed on to the applicant. These fees can be included in the financed amount. Your yearly assessment will also include an annual assessment collection fee of $25. The costs can be found on the Fee Schedule. For building permit fees, contact your local jurisdiction’s permitting agency.
  3. What is the repayment period? Can I request a shorter term?The repayment period is based on the product(s) useful life. However, the applicant may request a shorter repayment term.
  4. Can I participate if my property is under water?No. The sum of all debt against the property, including MPOWER financing, cannot exceed 100% of the property’s assessed or market value, whichever is greater. Please refer to our Eligibility Calculator.
  5. Can I finance my energy and water audit costs as well as engineering and design costs?Costs necessary for the planning and installation of the energy and/or water efficiency measures can be included in the MPOWER financing. Those costs include the energy audit, drafting, engineering services, labor, and program fees.
  6. What about rebates and tax credits for the improvements?Rebates and other incentives that are received at or near the time of installation cannot be included in the financed amount. However, rebates that are performance based incentives and tax credits are not taken into account when determining the MPOWER financing amount.
  7. Will my property taxes go up as a result of installing improvements?State law specifically exempts property tax increases due to the installation of most energy efficient retrofits and renewable energy generation systems. However, once the property is sold the new owner may be assessed at a higher rate due to those improvements. Applicants are urged to call the Placer County Assessor’s Office at (530) 889-4300 or the Sacramento County Assessor’s Office (for City of Folsom customers) at (916) 875-0700 for clarification.
  8. Once my project is completed how long will it take to receive payment?Payments cannot be disbursed within the first 3 days after the assessment contract is signed by the applicant. It is advised that you use this time to schedule your installation. Payments are made on the first and third Thursdays of the month. All invoices, finaled building permits, and required paperwork must be submitted to MPOWER Placer at least 5 County business days prior to the desired disbursement date.
  9. When does the County place the assessment lien on the property?The assessment lien is placed on the property three days after the assessment contract is signed. However, interest does not begin to accrue until money is disbursed to the applicant or the contractor. (The owner can opt to have funds paid directly to the contractor.)
  10. What will happen if I can’t make the payments?Since the payments become part of your tax bill, failure to pay will result in statutory penalties and interest being added to your bill. If left unpaid, after five years the County Tax Collector would have the right to proceed to sell the property at a property tax auction.
  11. What will happen if I sell the property before the assessment is paid off?Since the MPOWER financing is an assessment against the property and not the property owner, the assessment may stay with the property until paid in full. However, a future buyer’s lender may require the payoff of the assessment lien prior to or at the time of sale. You are also required by law to disclose the terms of the assessment lien to any potential buyers should you decide to sell the property.

Eligible Improvement Information

  1. What improvements can I finance?MPOWER will finance water and energy efficient retrofits and alternative energy generation equipment that are permanently affixed to the property. Refer to our lists of Residential and Non-Residential Eligible Improvementsor you may request “custom measures” specific to your building needs. A few examples are:
    • High efficiency lighting
    • High efficiency heating ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) equipment
    • Tankless water heaters
    • Cool roofs
    • High efficiency windows & doors
    • Solar or wind energy generation equipment
    • Smart irrigation controllers
  2. Can I finance solar leases or PPA agreements?No. Only equipment permanently installed and owned by the building owner is eligible.
  3. Can I finance repairs associated with the installation of an improvement?State law limits participation in the MPOWER program to energy and water efficiency improvements. Any repairs and/or new construction do not qualify for financing.
  4. I would like to reduce my water use, particularly in the area of landscaping. Will MPOWER finance xeriscaping (landscaping that conserves water)?No. MPOWER will finance water conservation measures such as smart irrigation controllers and rainwater cisterns but will not include the cost of new landscaping.

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