A PACE Rebirth? Sacramento and Ygrene Try to Unlock Green Homes
Property assessed clean energy, or PACE, financing — paying for home solar installations, energy efficiency retrofits and other green improvements through property taxes — was all the rage a few years ago.
Then, in 2010, Fannie May, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency decided that PACE payback obligations were problematic when combined with residential mortgages, putting the whole idea into legal limbo, and the industry into a stall. Programs in 23 states were canceled or cut short.
Since then, we’ve seen multiple approaches emerge to unlocking the legal snarl that’s preventing PACE from moving forward, whether via court challenge, or by delivering the same financial benefits of PACE via different structures, like utility bills.
Now, California’s state capital, Sacramento, is about to get the ball rolling on a new version of PACE financing that could unlock the residential market. Last month, it announced its Clean Energy Sacramento program was expanding PACE to both commercial and residential construction, with a goal of driving $100 million in investment in rooftop solar, efficiency upgrades and other green projects.