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PACENation Applauds Florida for Enacting PACE Reforms

Florida’s model legislation creates stronger consumer protections, expands eligible PACE offerings, and protects home rule

Los Angeles, CA – PACENation, the national membership association for PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) financing, today applauded the Florida Legislature and Governor Ron DeSantis as a comprehensive PACE reform bill was signed into law on Friday. The new law includes expansion of eligible improvement projects, reporting requirements, and robust consumer protections for homeowners.

“PACENation is thrilled that Florida’s leaders are paving the way for a modernized and stronger PACE program and share our commitment to ensuring the highest quality of consumer safeguards for homeowners who choose to finance their home improvements through PACE,” said PACENation Executive Director Mary Luévano. “We applaud the hard work and collaboration from the PACE providers, local government associations, and consumer advocacy groups, as well as the Governor and state legislature, in passing this meaningful legislation.”

Florida’s PACE program was created in 2010 to give property owners access to low-cost, upfront funding for critical storm hardening, energy efficiency, and renewable energy improvements. The new law makes significant updates to Florida’s 14-year-old statute, including delineating the differing requirements for using PACE for residential properties (Residential PACE, or R-PACE) and commercial properties (Commercial PACE, or C-PACE), comprehensive consumer protections for homeowners, expansion of eligible improvement projects, and clarifying that local governments must determine whether to opt-in to the program.

For R-PACE, the law provides for ability-to-pay income qualifications, including an income test, enforces disclosure methods to increase transparency, and requires informing homeowners of the importance of obtaining two estimates from contractors for larger home improvements. Additionally, the legislation reduces the maximum term of a R-PACE financing project from 30 to 20 years, requires a confirmation of terms phone call takes place with the homeowner, and provides that no assessment can exceed 20% of the home’s value, among other consumer protections.

Several new provisions to strengthen R-PACE contractor oversight are also implemented, including that R-PACE providers perform contractor licensing and registration verification and that R-PACE contractors adhere to specific advertising and marketing requirements.

“Florida’s R-PACE program has benefited the state by saving billions in potential disaster losses, serving as a local job creator, and is also one of the only lending models that works to ensure equitable access to energy improvements for all Florida homeowners,” said Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Julio Fuentes. “With this bill signed into law, R-PACE will now be an even greater benefit to our state with the program’s ability to address some of our state’s most pressing challenges such as water quality and flood resiliency.”

The new law includes septic-to-sewer conversions and flood resiliency as eligible improvements, aligning with the state’s water quality and resiliency goals, in addition to existing improvements property owners can already finance with PACE, including storm shutters, impact windows and doors, wind-resistant roofing, and energy-saving upgrades to lower utility bills and insurance premiums.

Finally, the legislation ensures that PACE continues to only operate through interlocal agreements, reinforcing home rule and the importance of key partnerships with local governments that promote greater collaboration.

The new law goes into effect on July 1, 2024. 

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ABOUT PACENATION
PACENation is the nonprofit membership organization that advocates for expanded access to PACE financing. PACENation provides resources and support to local governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations that are committed to allowing American property owners to improve the efficiency and resiliency of their homes and businesses with PACE.