Company: Renovate America
By: Roy Hales
In 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 were tax assessments, which take precedence over mortgages if there is 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 US homeowners.
A National Clean Energy Priority
“Today, PACE became a national clean energy policy priority,” said Cisco DeVries, CEO of Renew Financial and the inventor of that original Berkeley program. “PACE financing has the ability to dramatically accelerate our transformation to clean energy. Perhaps even more importantly, PACE is an invaluable tool to help homeowners pay for energy upgrades that will reduce their energy costs. However, until now, regulatory uncertainty has limited the expansion of PACE financing for single-family homes.”