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Movers in the Spread of California’s PACE programs

November 26th, 2014 by

Originally published in the ECOreport.

It has been nine months since California approved a $10 million reserve fund, to reimburse mortgage holders if homeowners with Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) default. (The residential program has been moving in slow motion since 2010, when, concerned about the priority PACE loans had over mortgages, the Federal Housing Finance Agency ordered the government-sponsored enterprises to not underwrite mortgages for homes with PACE loans.) In September, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 2597 and AB 1883 into law. For “California First,” these actions  opened the door for their residential program to return to California. It was probably less of a breakthrough for the HERO PACE program which was already either adopted, or in the process of being adopted, by 100 cities as of February. Nevertheless, California legislation furthered PACE’s expansion through-out the state. Four companies are the movers in the spread of California’s PACE programs and rumor has it a fifth may soon be launching.     


HERO, California’s leading residential PACE provider, was founded in Riverside county in December 2011. It spread throughout Southern California, up  the central valley and into the North. Another 42 cities and counties recently adopted this program. That brings the current total to 213 cities and unincorporated areas, or 44% of the total households in California. HERO PACE has helped fund more than 20,000 residential efficiency projects, totaling more than $375 million in financing. 

Homeowners use this money to install solar panels, HVAC systems, and more efficient windows.

As a result of the California drought, approximately 4% of HERO’s projects are now water-related. These include outdoor landscaping options, weather based irrigation systems, rainwater catchment systems and thousands of other high-efficiency water saving devices. Read more.