PACENation Blog

WSJ Article Presents a Skewed View, Ignores the Positive Story of PACE

Many of you no doubt saw the January 10th Journal article, “America’s Fastest-Growing Loan Category has Eerie Echoes of Subprime Crisis.” We hope you share our disappointment that the article was so unfair to PACE. It might have emphasized that to date, over 130,000 homeowners report high satisfaction using it to finance often-necessary energy-related investments in their homes. Instead of leaving the reader with the impression that PACE is a new and dangerous form of finance, it might have noted that for decades, local governments have relied on the same property tax line-item mechanism to fund improvements that benefit property owners and meet a public purpose. It could have emphasized that PACE providers are committed to serving that public purpose, and as such, take seriously their responsibility to protect consumers.

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MikeWSJ Article Presents a Skewed View, Ignores the Positive Story of PACE

PACE Creates Jobs and Energizes Local Economies: Here’s Why

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Register for the PACENation Summit 2017 in Denver, CO: February 13-15

When an energy services contractor sits down with a family at their dinner table to discuss the details of an efficient HVAC upgrade, solar installation, cool roof, or other energy upgrades, one question always comes up: “How will I pay for it?”

PACE financing is, increasingly, the answer to that question. PACE offers a more affordable and accessible way to finance energy efficiency, water efficiency, and renewable energy improvements to homes and commercial buildings. PACE programs have already funded over $3 billion in energy upgrades across the nation, and this increased investment has created stable work for local contractors —

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MikePACE Creates Jobs and Energizes Local Economies: Here’s Why

The new direction of PACENation

PACENation PACE Financing

 

To our PACENation friends:

PACENation is your organization, dedicated to bringing PACE to every community in America. We’re working with groups throughout the U.S. to bring PACE to more places and make sure property owners, manufacturers, contractors, governments and investors understand its unique advantages. And as our market grows, we’re developing best practices and standards to help ensure the long-term success of PACE.

PACE is at a turning point, and PACENation will need additional resources to meet the needs of our rapidly growing marketplace. To that end, we are pleased to launch a membership program that will enable deeper engagement between PACE stakeholders and our organization and help bolster financial support for our efforts.

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MikeThe new direction of PACENation

Executive Director’s Column: R-PACE and FHA

Dear PACENation members,

Last month, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and its Federal Housing Administration issued long-awaited guidance that leads us on a path for broader availability of residential PACE financing throughout the United States. These two tremendously important federal agencies have, after thorough review, concluded that PACE is an entirely valid use of the local government assessment financing mechanism, used for decades by nearly 40,000 assessment districts throughout the US to fund projects that benefit property owners and meet a clear public purpose.  PACENation applauds and strongly supports the guidance, and you can read our full statement here.

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MikeExecutive Director’s Column: R-PACE and FHA

PACE Guidance from HUD/FHA is an Important Step Forward

PACENation applauds and strongly supports guidance for residential PACE issued today by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The guidance clearly shows the Obama Administration’s strong commitment to Property Assessed Clean Energy financing, a bipartisan initiative adopted by 18 states thus far that encourages home owners to make energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades to their properties. To date, over 100,000 households have made their homes more valuable, healthier and comfortable using PACE. The nearly $2.25 billion spent has created 22,000 jobs, many of them in the communities that offer PACE, and will save the equivalent of 12.5 billion kWh’s over the life of the measures.

The guidance issued today by HUD’s Federal Housing Administration (FHA) sets standards that will allow qualifying homes with PACE assessments to be purchased or refinanced with mortgage products provided by FHA.

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MikePACE Guidance from HUD/FHA is an Important Step Forward
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PACE for Nonprofit-owned Buildings: Cutting Energy Costs to Serve Communities

By Bracken Hendricks, Urban Ingenuity & Mark Thielking, EnergizeNY

Every day nonprofit community-based institutions work hard to raise money and deliver mission-driven programs and services. Whether providing affordable housing for the homeless, assisting at-risk youth in gaining job skills in public charter schools, or ministering to the conscience of a community in houses of worship, these institutions regularly push their internal capacity and strain their budgets just to advance a public mission of service.

When choosing to install new energy saving technology like more efficient lighting or boilers, or upgrading to renewable energy with solar panels, the choice too often comes down to a trade-off between using scarce capital resources to either upgrade their physical plant or carry out their mission.

Financing building improvements using Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) can enable nonprofits to overcome these upfront cost barriers and easily access capital that is paid for over time through savings on utility bills. PACE offers low interest rates, long terms to minimize payments, and a solid value proposition for mission driven organizations.  That’s a good deal not only for the community, but for local clean energy businesses, the regional economy, and our shared environment.

Today, PACE programs in Washington DC and New York State can provide important lessons to help other communities around the nation access these benefits from what we call “Civic PACE”.  Both Energize NY and Urban Ingenuity are finding that the nonprofit sector is a huge opportunity for clean energy sector growth. Considered part of the commercial building stock, most nonprofits have underinvested in energy related improvements.

These community-based organizations often have constrained budgets, substantial deferred maintenance challenges, and very large unmet capital investment needs.  Nonprofits are typically underserved in debt markets because they have unusual forms of credit or cash flows, making PACE an ideal mechanism to finance building upgrades because it attaches to the land record of the property not the credit of the borrower. For this reason, nonprofit properties frequently have low debt levels, further simplifying PACE underwriting by reducing the need for lender consent to establish a special PACE tax assessment.

Although PACE is a powerful tool for nonprofit institutions, it has not been widely available or accessible to these critical community-based institutions… until now. The cost of capital can be a major factor for institutions that low priced debt. In order to serve this important market, it is essential to structure creative financing solutions that bring down pricing for nonprofits.

With support from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Sunshot Initiative, The Solar Foundation, Urban Ingenuity, and Clean Energy Solutions Inc. (CESI) are working with program administrators across the country to open up the nonprofit market beyond Washington DC. Through outreach and collaboration, the team is working to demonstrate the viability of using PACE with HUD-assisted multifamily housing, the value of PACE-secured PPAs for non-profit solar projects, tax-exempt bond financing considerations, and other creative credit enhancements.  The team is finding opportunities to build this market to use PACE financing to expand deployment of solar energy and energy efficiency projects for nonprofit organizations, working closely with houses of worship and local Public Housing Authorities in Washington DC, New York, and many other communities around the country to make low-cost, long-dated debt and appropriate equity available for PACE projects.

For example, in the District of Columbia, Urban Ingenuity is currently structuring credit enhancements and tax-exempt PACE capital to bring down interest rates. They are currently closing a tax-exempt PACE note at less than 4% for 20 year debt, representing perhaps the first tax-exempt PACE financing, and demonstrating a new potential opportunity for PACE investment.

In New York, Energize NY has used Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds (QECBs) to bring down the cost of clean energy upgrades to under 3% for 20 year funds, as well as offering direct property owner support to help overcome the capacity gap that is a common barrier to upgrades in this sector.  In addition, New Market Tax Credits (NMTC) and other forms of innovative, low-cost capital are available to credit-enhance PACE notes.

Nonprofit owned buildings are not currently well served by solar tax equity markets; these markets are not always transparent for consumers, and the pricing and structure is traditionally designed to benefit the investor and developer, instead of maximizing the flow of resources to advance a non-profit’s mission. The PACE-secured PPA, on the other hand, reduces credit risk, drives transparency in solar markets, and presents improved pricing and terms for customers. DC PACE has proven a “pre-paid PPA” approach, and Energize NY is close to closing three PPA’s with non-profits and others unable to take advantage of federal tax credits.

More broadly, NY State is addressing the challenges facing non-profits and Low and Moderate Income (LMI) housing by supporting Energize NY PACE financing as well as through the State’s energy agency (NYSERDA) and a range of utility initiatives. These efforts combine to form a compelling package that can include direct project support, financing with long-terms and low interest rates, and energy upgrade standards that encourage improvements which provide significant financial gain to LMI housing and other non-profit customers.

The energy burden is disproportionately high for almost all nonprofits and especially for affordable housing owners who struggle with balancing operating needs and serving their mission.  Reducing energy costs and consumption make good financial sense for these property owners, and accessing upfront capital to pay for needed project level investments, paid for over time with utility savings, is one key piece of the solution. Now, with PACE, which can be enhanced through QECBs or other tools and paired with direct incentives, nonprofits can access the capital they desperately need to improve their property while saving money to advance their mission, foster public welfare and a higher quality of life while giving back to communities in ways that extend well beyond greening the environment and protecting global climate.

For more information, visit:

 

Watch the webinar on PACE for Nonprofit-owned buildings:

Featuring Bracken Hendricks and Mark Thielking

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MikePACE for Nonprofit-owned Buildings: Cutting Energy Costs to Serve Communities

PACENation Releases Consumer Protection Policies for Residential PACE Market

Today, PACENation has released Consumer Protection Policies for the residential property assessed clean energy (PACE) programs. These policies (CPP V1) provide the strongest protections for homeowners using PACE or any other type of financing who want to invest in clean energy and water efficiency upgrades to their properties. They address a homeowner’s eligibility for financing and ability to repay, comprehensive financial disclosures, appropriate contractor conduct, acceptable products and projects (with pricing guidelines), post-funding support, treatment of protected classes, grievance procedures, data security and privacy matters. CPP V1 also emphasizes the operational requirements that PACE programs and financial and administrative service providers must meet to ensure that standards set by these policies are met.

PACENation Executive Director David Gabrielson said, “PACENation’s Consumer Protection Policies create a meet-or-exceed standard that PACENation member organizations should adhere to. When it comes to PACE, nothing is more important than protecting the interests of homeowners, and CPP V1 is designed to do just that.”

PACE financing enables a much broader range of homeowners to implement energy efficiency, renewable energy and water efficiency improvements that increase the value, comfort, functionality, and sustainability of their homes. Such improvements make homes less costly to operate and more comfortable to live in, while simultaneously reducing energy and water consumption. Without PACE Programs many homeowners would not have affordable access to these upgrades. To date, over 80,000 homeowners have used PACE for clean energy and water conservation measures that will save 9.1 billion kWh of energy, 3.4 billion gallons of water, cut carbon emissions by 2.5 million tons, and knock $2.5 billion off homeowner utility bills. It is estimated that the money spent on these projects has created over 13,000 local jobs.

PACE programs, their government sponsors, and the associated parties who help implement them, provide advice, tools and resources that allow homeowners to make smart, informed and responsible choices. PACE programs must therefore be responsible for ensuring that the advice, tools and resources provided are appropriate and accurate. Care must be taken with homeowners before, during and after the origination of program financing. Consumer protections that serve homeowners must be a core value of PACE programs and all associated parties.

CPP V1 is based on standards, developed by PACENation and members who are market leaders. They have already been adopted in substance by PACE programs offered through the California Statewide Communities Development Authority (Alliance NRG, CaliforniaFirst, and PACE Funding) and the Western Riverside Council of Government (HERO). Standards set forth in CPP V1 are also supported in principle by other PACE service and finance providers and by a number of government sponsors of PACE financing.

Follow this link to read the full document: http://www.pacenation.us/consumer-protection-policies/

PACENation is a national, non-profit, organization serving the interests and needs of over 300 member organizations that share a common goal of making PACE financing available to all building owners throughout the United States. PACENation is building a broader PACE network by providing information, resources, and advice to a growing universe of PACE market stakeholders. To learn more, visit http://www.PACENation.us

 

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MikePACENation Releases Consumer Protection Policies for Residential PACE Market

PACENation Promoting PACE in Europe on EU Covenant of Mayors Webinar

PACENation’s Kristina Klimovich will participate in a webinar sponsored by the EU Covenant of Mayors to promote PACE in Europe! See more information:

1485_CoM_vignette_WEBCovenant of Mayors webinar – Innovative building renovation financing methods from other continents
8 June 2016 10:00 – 11:30
Online, Belgium

 

Two successful innovative and synergetic international initiatives, applied in other continents will be discussed: PACE – www.pacenation.us  and ICP –http://www.eeperformance.org/

 

PACE or Property Assessed Clean Energy is a financing tool used to pay for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation upgrades to buildings. PACE was pioneered in 2007 in California and it quickly spread across the USA, Canada and Australia. Globally, the PACE market reached $2 billion in completed commercial and residential projects.

 

The Investor Confidence Project is enabling a marketplace for building owners, project developers, utilities, public programs and investors to trade in standardized energy efficiency projects. ICP Protocols have been included in several state and utility programs (California, New York, Texas).  ICP’s energy efficiency protocols are used in Texas as part of a do-it-yourself toolkit for PACE.  The largest USA utility is launching a pilot to accelerate energy efficiency retrofits in existing buildings by providing interest-free loans to energy performance contractors who use ICP’s (IREE) certification.

 

  •  Agenda
    • PACE: Now Kristina Klimovich (PACE)
    • ICP: Panama Bartholomy (ICP)
  • Registration

Organiser: Covenant of Mayors Office

Website: http://www.eumayors.eu

Contact details: Tamas SOLYMOSI
[email protected]

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MikePACENation Promoting PACE in Europe on EU Covenant of Mayors Webinar

Announcing the first installment of PACENation’s new monthly webinar series

PACENation Webinar series

We’re announcing an all-new resource for PACENation’s members: Monthly PACE Webinars! Each month, these live webinars will feature experts in the PACE market presenting on timely and interesting PACE topics, including informational sessions and new market developments.

Our first webinar, which will focus on PACE for nonprofit-owned buildings, will take place on April 27th from 3:00pm – 4:00pm EST.

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MikeAnnouncing the first installment of PACENation’s new monthly webinar series