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Sonoma County Energy Independence Program celebrates its 5th year anniversary

The Sonoma County Energy Independence Program (SCEIP) is celebrating its fifth anniversary, riding the wave of a nationwide resurgence in support for Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing.

SCEIP has funded more than 2,040 projects to date, totaling upwards of $66 million in retrofits to Sonoma County homes and businesses with items such as energy-efficient windows, heating and cooling equipment, insulation and solar panels leading the list of over 90 pre-approved eligible improvements. These projects have prevented the emission of more than 8,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases, according to SCEIP.

PACE financing allows property owners to take advantage of energy and water saving upgrades to their homes or businesses and pay off the investment over time through their property tax bills. The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors authorized the creation of SCEIP to offer PACE in Sonoma County, and SCEIP opened its doors on March 25, 2009 as the first multi-jurisdictional municipal PACE program to provide residential and non-residential financing in the United States.

PACE programs have proliferated across the country and more than 31 states have passed PACE- enabling legislation, despite significant challenges from the Federal Housing Finance Agency based on concerns about the senior priority of PACE obligations. To address these challenges in California, Governor Brown and State Treasurer Lockyer have led the creation of a Statewide PACE mortgage loss reserve program. Administered by the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority, the program will protect mortgage holders from losses associated with any defaults from properties that have PACE liens. Read more.