SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif., Nov. 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Forty-two cities and counties across California this week officially launched the HERO Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program, which enables homeowners and commercial property owners to pay off energy- and water-efficiency improvements through their property tax bill.
The HERO Program has now been adopted by more than 200 communities in the Golden State since launching in December 2011. HERO's success in California is part of a national trend. PACE programs overcame initial concerns from the Federal Housing Administration and are now flourishing in 31 states. They have become a cornerstone of America's push for cleaner power and energy independence.
HERO now serves 44 percent of households in California. It has helped fund more than 20,000 residential efficiency projects, totaling more than $375 million in financing. By funding projects, the program has also helped to create more than 3,000 local jobs.
"We're proud to be helping hundreds of California communities save water, reduce energy use, and create jobs in the green economy," said J.P. McNeill, CEO of Renovate America, the company that administers the HERO Program. "Homeowners and policy makers across the state are embracing bold new approaches to fighting the drought and reducing carbon emissions, and we're excited to be part of the solution to meeting these important goals."
A wide variety of energy-saving products are available through the HERO Program. The energy efficiency projects HERO has helped save 140 gigawatt hours of energy annually – enough to power more than 11,000 homes for a year. The program also helps offset more than 35,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
"HERO and other PACE programs are helping California cities lead a revolution in solar power, and they are also putting thousands of people to work in the green economy," said Jim Pope from American Vision Windows and Solar. "These programs are benefiting cities, homeowners, and people who need good jobs."
As California's drought drags on, HERO-eligible retrofits give homeowners a fast, affordable way to lower their water bill and conserve a desperately-needed resource with products ranging from high-efficiency toilets to drought-tolerant landscaping.
Property owners repay the assessment over 5, 10, 15 or 20 years through their property tax bill. Interest is tax deductible, and homeowners see immediate savings on electric and water utility bills.
"We help people make upgrades to their homes so they can use the most current technology to reduce water consumption and energy use," McNeill said. "With our program, homeowners don't need to make a big initial investment to improve their property and save money and resources."
The program launched this week in the cities of Albany, Aliso Viejo, American Canyon, Arvin, Bakersfield, Beaumont, Benicia, California City, Concord, Coronado, Cypress, Encinitas, Fillmore, Foster City, Imperial Beach, Indio, Kingsburg, La Mesa, Lake Forest, Lancaster, Lemoore, McFarland, Merced, National City, Ojai, Poway, Rancho Cordova, Reedley, Riverbank, Sanger, Santa Paula, Santee, Sierra Madre, St. Helena, Stockton, Vallejo, Visalia, Wasco. It also launched in the counties of Imperial, Madera, Monterey, and Santa Cruz.
Taking part in the HERO Program is 100% voluntary for both jurisdictions and property owners. The program is cost neutral to participating local governments. In a recent survey, 95% of more than 2,000 participants in the Program said they would recommend HERO to a friend.
Cities and counties need only pass a resolution in order to make PACE programs like HERO available to local property owners. The HERO program recently received the 2014 Clean Air Award from the South Coast Air Quality Management District and the Clean Tech OC's Van Vlahakis' Environmental Excellence Award (in partnership with the Association of California Cities – Orange County). The program has also received the Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award, the Urban Land Institute Best of the Best, and the Southern California Association of Governments President's Award for Excellence.
SOURCE HERO Program