Senate Action Strengthens California’s PACE Clean Energy and Seismic Financing Program

May 30, 2017

On Tuesday, Senate Bill 242 authored by State Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) received bipartisan support and passed the Senate floor with a vote of 33 - 3.

Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) is a financing program that began in California to assist homeowners, hospitals, schools, and businesses finance energy and water efficiency, clean energy and seismic upgrades to their buildings.

“SB 242 strengthens California’s role as the national leader in PACE financing by ensuring that contractors are qualified, consumers are protected, and buildings are upgraded to achieve water, energy and seismic goals,” stated Senator Skinner.

PACE – which was founded in Berkeley in 2007 and now gone national – is a critical and highly successful tool to help drive energy, water, and seismic improvements in California’s existing building stock. PACE programs have been established by 44 local governments throughout CA, some 34 states in the US also now allow PACE financing.

Earlier this month, PACE was used to finance a $40 million seismic retrofit on Seton Medical Center in Daly City. “This project highlights the incredible power of PACE to upgrade essential infrastructure in our critically needed hospitals,” said Renew Financial CEO, Cisco DeVries.

SB 242 demonstrates California’s PACE leadership by creating a first-of-its-kind payment-relief program for property owners suffering financial hardship, requiring clear underwriting standards to ensure customers can pay back their assessments, and ensuring that PACE contractors are licensed and the measures financed meet intended public policy goals.

“Strong, enforceable consumer protections are vital to the continued growth of PACE, which has proven to be one of the most effective energy efficiency and clean energy solutions at work in America today,” said J.P. McNeill, CEO of San Diego-based Renovate America, the nation’s largest PACE provider. “By strengthening consumer safeguards, SB 242 will allow this innovative financing solution to expand responsibly.”

“The bottom line is the improvements in SB 242 will bring benefits to consumers, buildings and the environment” said Senator Skinner, “As the inventors of PACE, we in California are again leading the nation.”

Senate Bill 242 will now head to the Assembly for consideration.