The ECOreport looks at what two of the principal companies think of the new United States’ PACE Guidelines
By Roy L Hales
The United States largest Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) providers do not anticipate any complications. Both Renovate America and Ygrene believe they are already inline with most of what the government is suggesting. After months of review, the Department of Energy (DOE) released the United States’ PACE Guidelines.
The United States’ New PACE Guidelines
PACE programs allows owners to make energy-saving and renewable energy improvements on their homes and pay for them over time via their property tax bills.
Up until now, the vast majority of the nation’s $2 billion worth of these upgrades have been in California. More than 100,000 homeowners have used this program to reduce their energy bills by approximatley $4 billion. Approximately 25,000 jobs have been created.
“By setting a baseline of best practices for the entire PACE industry and government partners, the Department of Energy is enabling this innovative financing platform to scale here in Missouri and nationwide,” said David Pickerill, executive director of the Missouri Clean Energy District
According to the DOE press release, “In the guidelines, special emphasis is placed on recommended protections that PACE programs should put in place for consumers who voluntarily opt into the service, as well as for lenders that hold mortgages on properties with PACE assessments. DOE also provides additional program design recommendations that address the unique needs and potential vulnerabilities of low-income and elderly households, to help ensure that PACE financing is used appropriately and at the least cost for low-income households that otherwise meet program eligibility criteria.”
Policies The Industry Has Already Developed
“These guidelines reflect many of the elements of the PACE program that Ygrene and others in the industry have developed to provide property owners access to affordable financing for their energy efficiency and climate resiliency improvement needs. We are also committed to continuously strengthening and improving PACE financing,” said Mike Lemyre, Ygrene’s, SVP of District Development and Government Affairs.
He added, “We will review all of the guidelines for applicability under current state laws, regulations and policies that are already in place.”1
“Renovate America’s HERO Program already meets or exceeds the vast majority of DOE’s best practices, and we have been striving to move the rest of the PACE industry to adopt these standards. We’re constantly improving HERO and will soon be rolling out new features that further align with DOE’s guidance,” said Greg Frost, National Communications Director of Renovate America.2
In their press release, Renovate America states:
” … Contractors working with their HERO program agree not to be paid until the homeowner signs off that the project has been completed to his or her satisfaction. If any issues arise after a project has been completed, Renovate America helps homeowners and contractors reach a resolution. They also maintain a team of real-estate professionals to help customers who want to refinance or sell their homes”.
Applaud the DOE
“We applaud the Department of Energy for developing best practices for PACE financing and encouraging their broader adoption so that this industry can continue to scale nationwide,” said J.P. McNeill, founder and CEO of Renovate America.
All photos courtesy Renovate America