Tag Archives: California First

Two Bills Providing Increased Protection For PACE Customers

By Roy L Hales

Close to 150,000 Californian homeowners have made energy and efficiency improvements through Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing. For the most part they are success stories, but there are isolated reports of problems with “independent solar, plumbing and roofing contractors who pitch the loans and sign up consumers through online software.” The California state legislature responded with two bills providing increased protection for PACE customers. 
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No surprises in HUD’s PACE Guidance

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PM1Seven years ago, the White House released policy guidelines that would allow homeowners to finance home energy improvements through their property taxes. The Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) is a local government/corporate partnership, in which private companies supply 100% of the initial funding and are paid back over time. If this remarkably simple program were not classified as tax, it would have been adopted offered through-out America years ago. Taxes take priority over mortgages, should the homeowner default. So Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac urged local governments to put their PACE programs on hold. Yesterday, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced the obvious solution. Aside from the length of time it took the government to adopt a painfully obvious solution, there are no surprises in HUD’s PACE guidance.

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PACE Programs Heat Up San Diego’s Economy

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PM1After two years of operation, any concerns that the public held appear to be a thing of the past. County Supervisors Dianne Jacob (at podium) and Dave Roberts (grey suit) recently held a press conference to describe how PACE programs heat up San Diego’s economy.

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Californians Waste A Lot Of Water

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PMWater is a finite resource. According to Stephanie Feldstein of the Center of Biological Diversity, “Every time you turn on the tap, that water is coming from rivers, lakes and streams that wildlife depend on.” With Levi Strauss & Co’s help, the Center created the “Don’t Be a Drip” to identify some of the most wasteful activities and counties in the United States. Despite a four year long drought, they discovered Californians waste a lot of water.

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Cisco DeVries Explains How PACE is Giving Preference To Mortgages

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PMIt has been eight years since Cisco DeVries invented Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loans. They were meant to spur the mass adoption of residential solar, but have also proven to be an effective means of financing other energy and water saving devices. If PACE weren’t classified as a tax, it would have been offered through-out America years ago. Instead, five years ago Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac urged local governments to put their PACE programs on hold and the vast majority of PACE projects have been in California. That is about to change. Cisco DeVries explains how PACE is changing.

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BC’s Cities Can Foster Rapid Solar Deployment

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PMBC will double its solar capacity this year. This sounds impressive, until you compare our numbers with those of the leading solar areas. We will have more than 4 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity.  Germany, which does not possess any more solar capacity than we do, has more than 39,000 MW. This achievement was made possible because of government policies and incentives which British Columbians do not have. However there is a way that BC’s cities can foster rapid solar deployment.

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Two Residential PACE programs Dominate California Headlines

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PM1It has been nine months since California approved a $10 million reserve fund, to reimburse mortgage holders if homeowners with Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) default. (The residential program has been moving in slow motion since 2010, when, concerned about the priority PACE loans had over mortgages, the Federal Housing Finance Agency ordered the government-sponsored enterprises to not underwrite mortgages for homes with PACE loans.) In September, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 2597 and AB 1883 into law. For “California First,” these actions  opened the door for their residential program to return to California. It was probably less of a breakthrough for the HERO PACE program which was already either adopted, or in the process of being adopted, by 100 cities as of February. Never-the-less, California legislation furthered PACE’s expansion through-out the state. There are at least four active programs and rumour has it that a fifth may soon be launching, yet two PACE programs dominate California headlines.     

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California First Helped Bring PACE Home

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PM1It has been seven years since Cisco DeVries came up with what Scientific American would later call one of the top 20 “world-changing” ideas of the year. He was the Mayor of Berkeley’s Chief of staff. They were thinking about ways to hasten the adoption of solar technology. DeVries realized the breakthrough they needed was financial rather than technological. The $20,000 or $30,000 people needed to install a solar system was a hefty bill. He was looking for a way the city could help when a northern Berkeley neighbourhood asked to have their utility lines put underground. This improvement was to be financed through their property taxes. DeVries realized this was the vehicle that could finance the adoption of solar and other energy improvements. The Property Assessed Clean Energy (P.A.C.E.) program was born. There are many questions remaining about the events ahead. One of them is how did California First help bring PACE home?

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