Landmark Consumer Protections Approved for PACE Clean Energy Financing

September 11, 2017

 

Sacramento, State Capitol – Senate Bill 242 authored by State Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) to strengthen consumer protections for California’s Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program passed the State Senate today and is now on its way to the Governor’s desk.

 

“California is the national leader in PACE financing,” stated Senator Skinner, “SB 242 adds consumer safeguards so homeowners can continue to enjoy a convenient tool to finance energy, water and earthquake safety upgrades to their homes and properties.”

 

Since being launched in Berkeley in 2007, PACE has assisted thousands of California homeowners finance clean energy, energy efficiency, water conservation and earthquake safety upgrades to their homes. PACE programs are administered by local governments who finance the program through a local government bond; loans to property owners are paid back via a line item on the owner’s property tax bill. PACE now operates in more than 44 cities and counties across California, as well as in 34 other states.

 

SB 242 adds important consumer protections to ensure that owners are fully aware of loan terms and understand that loan payments are made through their property tax bills. SB 242 additionally provides a 3-day right to cancel, and as PACE programs often rely on contractors to promote this financing opportunity, SB 242 makes it illegal for any “kickbacks” or other marketing incentives to be paid to contractors.

 

SB 242 is supported by local governments, builders, clean energy companies, environmental groups, business groups, and PACE providers.

 

“Home improvements that lower bills are good for everyone, from families struggling to make ends meet to people working to upgrade buildings so they waste less energy,” said Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) Senior Policy Manager, California Clean Energy, Lauren Navarro. “Adopting consumer protections for PACE financing allows more Californians to invest in energy- and cost-saving technologies.”

 

"Renew Financial is honored to stand with Senator Skinner and the many other business and environmental stakeholders who worked so hard to strengthen PACE financing for California homeowners," said Cisco DeVries, CEO of Renew Financial and the innovator of PACE financing. "This legislation establishes strong industry standards that will benefit homeowners uniformly across the state. It will also serve as a national model for states that adopt PACE financing so they can provide homeowners with an effective financing option to make their properties more efficient, comfortable and secure."

 

Senate Bill 242 now heads to Governor Jerry Brown for his signature.