10 October 2017 2017 09:15 AM GMT

Renovate America Applauds Landmark Protection Framework For PACE Financing

Renovate America, the nation’s largest PACE provider, has hailed Governor Jerry Brown’s signing into law of two bills that provide a landmark regulatory and consumer protection framework for Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing.

The companion pieces of legislation – AB 1284, co-authored by Assembly Member Matt Dababneh, Senator Nancy Skinner, and Assembly Member Ian Calderon, and SB 242, co-authored by Senator Skinner and Assembly Member Dababneh – are the result of a year of development and negotiations among low-income consumer advocates, environmental and clean-energy groups, the banking industry, Renovate America and other private-sector PACE program administrators aimed at improving PACE by strengthening consumer protections.

“Across 150,000 California homes, PACE has already saved enough energy to power the United States for over a day – and this legislation provides the regulatory and underwriting framework to ensure it’s a responsible choice for hundreds of thousands more homes and families,” said Ari Matusiak, Chief Strategy Officer at Renovate America, the nation’s largest provider of PACE financing. “AB 1284 and SB 242 effectively creates a brand-new PACE product in California – ensuring long-term viability here and serving as a model for PACE to grow responsibly in other states.”

Amisha Rai, Senior Director of California Policy at Advanced Energy Economy, said: “The PACE program is helping consumers and communities throughout California achieve greater energy savings while expanding access to advanced energy products and services. AB 1284 and SB 242 establish a clear, enforceable statewide consumer protection and regulatory framework for PACE that will serve as a model for other states. We are pleased to see California lead the way in passing this critical package.”

Born in California a decade ago, PACE is an innovative financing mechanism that empowers homeowners to make energy, efficiency and resiliency upgrades to their properties and pay back the financing over time through an additional, voluntary line item on their property taxes. Since its inception, homeowners have used Renovate America’s HERO PACE financing to improve more than 105,000 properties in California, Florida and Missouri.

AB 1284 will significantly enhance PACE underwriting, regulate PACE at the state level, and enforce compliance with all PACE laws by PACE administrators and individual contractors. Specifically, the bill will:

  • Strengthen and standardize the current underwriting standards in PACE based on home equity and on-time mortgage and tax payment history, and require that the most accurate Automated Valuation Models are used for establishing the value of the home;
  • Establish new underwriting standards predicated on income verification and ability-to-pay to determine that property owners can meet their annual PACE obligation in addition to their current debt obligations and basic household expenses; and
  • Establish a licensing and regulatory framework for the PACE industry in California, which will be subject to oversight by the California Department of Business Oversight (DBO).

The California Low-Income Consumer Coalition, made up of 11 consumer policy and legal advocacy organizations, worked to improve the legislation and says AB 1284 “introduces protections that have been absent from, and critically needed in, PACE programs.” The coalition moved from opposing the legislation to neutral, stating some reservations which the Department of Business Oversight will likely address in its regulatory process.

SB 242 will establish state-of-the-art consumer protections, further setting PACE apart from other forms of financing. Chief among these is the requirement that PACE providers conduct a recorded, live, confirmation of terms call with property owner before they sign their assessment contract, as a reinforcement to written disclosures modeled on the federal Know Before You Owe mortgage form. In addition, the law establishes data reporting requirements to local government partners, including data that speaks to the projected energy and water savings and local economic and job impacts, as well as on categories of products installed and homeowners served.

SB 242 also establishes an expanded “right to cancel” for a property owner using PACE, enabling the property owner to cancel their separate home improvement contract if they cancel their PACE financing within their three-day right to cancel. The law limits the amount of money that program administrators can pay to contractors, whether directly or indirectly, to the price charged by the contractor to the property owner. And it also prohibits the reimbursement of marketing, advertising, and program collateral expenses to restrict the usage of such reimbursement to evade the anti-kickback provisions.

Renovate America offers a tech-enabled financing platform for home improvements that empowers communities to modernize and make their housing stock more efficient, while giving small businesses the tools they need to grow. In addition to financing home improvements through an unsecured lending product, Benji, Renovate America offers communities HERO financing. HERO is the leading residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program in the U.S. and has been used by over 105,000 homes to make energy and efficiency improvements. It is estimated that HERO is on track to save billions of dollars in energy and water bills, and has created over 20,000 local trade jobs that cannot be offshored or automated. Renovate America has built the world’s largest green bond platform, with a volume of originations that enables securitization of HERO PACE bonds multiple times a year, attracting international investment to meet U.S. clean-energy objectives.

July 11th 2018
Vestas Expands Global Presence With 108 MW Order For 3 Wind Parks In Bolivia

Vestas has expanded its global presence further and has entered Bolivia with a 108 MW order for the three wind parks, San Julián, Warnes, and El Dorado, all located in the municipalities of Cocota, Warnes and Cabezas in Santa Cruz, central Bolivia. Upon completion, the three wind parks will have a capacity of 40 MW, 14 MW and 54 MW respectively and will make up the Santa Cruz wind project and have a total capacity of 108 MW, which is four times the country’s total currently installed wind capacity; and will significantly accelerate Bolivia’s journey towards phasing out fossil fuels.

June 28th 2018
IET’s Renewable Power Generation Conference Comes To Copenhagen

The Institution of Engineering and Technology’s popular Renewable Power Generation conference will be making its first visit to Denmark this year. The conference, now in its 7th iteration, will be hosted by the Center for Electric Power and Energy at DTU, which also manages the world-class experiment platform for research and development of renewables integration – PowerLabDK. Over 180 new research papers will be presented at the conference. Attendees will be able to find out the latest ideas and thinking around wind power plant modelling and control; wave and tidal energy; renewable energy forecasting; power conversion and grid interaction; Hybrid systems combining multiple energy sources; the impact of distributed generation and use of HVDC.

July 11th 2018
Benelux Infrastructure Forum Returns To Amsterdam For 17th Consecutive Year

Registration is now open for the 17th annual Benelux Infrastructure Forum. The industry-leading event for the Benelux region is returning to Amsterdam, Netherlands on the 21st and 22nd November 2018 for its 17th consecutive year. This year’s event will focus on exploring new financing mechanisms and alternative markets. It will also include an in-depth look at the different project financing models within the Benelux region for infrastructure projects, including; Public-Private Partnerships (PPP), institutional investment schemes, pension funds, debt financing, government funding, project refinancing, and more.


 

Benelux_IF_MPU_181