Tag Archives: Cisco DeVries

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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Republican Senators Apply Alternate Facts To PACE Financing

By Roy L Hales

There have been some pretty strange “goings on” in Washington since the Republicans took over. Confronted with facts they didn’t like, the new administration came up with the concept of “alternate facts” that are more in line with the way they want people to think. This has gone beyond the White House. With the new Protecting Americans from Credit Exploitation (PACE) Act, three Republican senators apply alternate facts to PACE financing.

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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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America’s First PACENation Summit

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PMThere are almost 400 registrants, from 35 or 36 states, all keenly aware that the US government is about to partially remove a hindrances that have kept residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (P.A.C.E.) financing from spreading throughout the nation. George Caraghiau said, “I’ve been to so many conferences in my life, but I cannot believe the excitement I am feeling at this conference.” David Gabrielson, Executive Director of PACENation, added,1People are excited about the impact this will have on job creation, climate change…”  They were speaking from America’s First PACENation Summit.

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  1.  Roy L Hales interview with  David Gabrielson, Executive Director of PACENation, & George Caraghiau, Senior Fellow, PACENation

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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PACE Will Be Available To All Americans

By  Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PM1In 2007, the City of Berkeley came up with an innovative program to hasten the adoption of solar technology. Homeowners could finance installations through their property taxes. Scientific American called it one of the top 20 “world-changing” ideas of the year. Unfortunately, the United States was going into a recession that started in the real estate sector. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac felt threatened by the fact Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loans are tax assessments, which take precedence over mortgages if there was a default. Their refusal to issue mortgages to homes in the PACE program severely hindered development outside of California. Now that has changed, the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) is developing the guidelines under which it will accept PACE funding. PACE will be available to all Americans.

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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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PACE Returned To Berkeley

The ECOreport looks into how, six years after the program was invented, PACE returned to Berkeley.

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PM1HERO Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) is now available in 186 Californian cities and counties. The County of San Mateo and Woodside have opted in and the number of communities in the Bay area is approaching two dozen. PACE returned to Berkeley, where it was born.

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