March 25, 2014
With the decision to launch the nation's largest Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program, California homeowners will soon be able to more easily save money by reducing their energy and water use through an innovative public-private financing partnership. Operated under the auspices of the California Statewide Communities Development Authority (CSCDA), the CaliforniaFIRST residentialPACE program will launch this summer in 17 California counties and 167 cities, and makes energy and water efficiency projects more affordable and accessible for millions of California homeowners.
"We are thrilled to launch the PACE residential program to help homeowners keep more money in their pockets," says Cisco DeVries, CEO of Renewable Funding. "We especially want to thank Governor Brown and State Treasurer Lockyer for their work to again make this public-private partnership possible. With California in a severe drought and facing higher energy costs, this is a win-win in the truest sense. Homeowners throughout the state will now have more options to lower their energy and water bills and generate clean energy."
Under the CaliforniaFIRST program administered by Renewable Funding, homeowners will be able to choose a contractor and install a custom-tailored clean energy project--including the purchase and installation of HVAC systems, solar panels, low-flow toilets, home insulation, windows and roofs. Through PACE, property owners' repayment is secured through a special tax assessment repaid by the homeowner through the property tax bill over up to 20 years.
Earlier this month, California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. and State Treasurer Bill Lockyer announced key actions to create a PACE mortgage loss reserve program to address concerns raised by mortgage entities. Administered by the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority (CAEATFA), the loss reserve program will refund mortgage holders from losses associated with a PACE lien on the property.
In announcing the reserve program, Governor Brown commented, "PACE enables homeowners to buy solar panels, install low-flow toilets and make other smart investments that save energy and water without breaking the bank. As California confronts a severe drought and a rapidly changing climate, this program gives homeowners another opportunity to do their part."
The PACE financing mechanism was first pioneered by the City of Berkeley for its residential owners in 2008 and has since spread to over 30 states. Over $200 million in commercial and residential PACE financing has transacted - a number poised to grow dramatically with the launch of CaliforniaFIRST.
"PACE financing is both simple and affordable," said Ori Skloot, President of Advanced Home Energy, one of the Bay Area's largest and most successful home performance contractors. "We're eager to be able to offer it to our customers because it makes the value proposition of efficiency and solar projects even better."
Numerous studies, including the Johnson Controls annual Energy Efficiency Indicator, and market analyses in recent years have pointed to the lack of attractive financing options as one of the key barriers that prevent owners from making deep energy efficiency upgrades on their buildings. With CaliforniaFIRST, many people view the state of California as having the greatest potential to unlock the promising energy efficiency market.
CaliforniaFIRST is a program of the CSCDA which was created in 1988 to provide California's local governments with an effective tool for the timely financing of community-based public benefit projects. CSCDA is sponsored by the California State Association of Counties and the League of California Cities. More than 500 California cities, counties and special districts are members of CSCDA.
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