SAN DIEGO, April 13, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- When California state legislators voted to approve Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE), San Diego County was one of the first areas to embrace this innovative home energy and efficiency financing model. San Diego County communities adopted PACE with the goal of helping local homeowners make renewable energy and energy- and water-efficiency upgrades that can lower utility bills, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create sustainable local jobs.
It's clear that the PACE financing model is working. Through the state's largest PACE program, HERO, more than 11,000 homeowners in San Diego County have made 25,000 energy efficiency, water efficiency or solar power improvements to their homes over the last three years. HERO is just one of several PACE providers in the county.
"It is great to see so many San Diego homeowners taking advantage of the PACE program, spurring the growth of our cleantech sector, moving the City closer to our sustainability goals, and saving families money on their utility bills," said Council President Pro Tem Mark Kersey. "Companies like Renovate America in Council District Five are creating good paying jobs and have helped make San Diego No. 1 in solar energy capacity nationwide."
Since PACE became available, San Diego County has also experienced a boost to the local economy. For example, HERO-funded home improvements have generated more than $530 million in new economic activity. By stimulating home renovations, PACE increases demand for local contractor services. As a result, the HERO Program is now supporting an estimated 2,500 new regional jobs through this boost to the local economy. Many of these jobs, like those in the local construction sector, cannot be automated or outsourced.
PACE enables homeowners to make energy and efficiency improvements and to pay for them over time at a fixed interest rate through an additional line item on their property taxes. The resources saved through PACE-financed efficiency upgrades are significant. In San Diego County, HERO-financed home upgrades are on track to save homeowners more than $550 million in utility bills over the expected useful life of the products installed. The city's homeowners are also projected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 440,000 tons, which is the equivalent of taking nearly 93,000 passenger vehicles off the road for a year. HERO water conservation improvements are projected to save more than 1.8 billion gallons of water.
"PACE is working for homeowners across San Diego county, empowering them to make energy efficiency, clean energy, and water conservation improvements, all of which can result in lower utility bills," said Nicole Capretz, the Executive Director of the Climate Action Campaign. "These programs are also reducing greenhouse gas emissions, helping us meet our climate goals, and creating good-paying, family-supporting jobs across the region."
Because of the public-private nature of the program, PACE financing offers consumer safeguards that go beyond those found with other forms of home-improvement financing. To help homeowners easily understand their financing terms before they finalize their contracts, all residential PACE providers in California must provide homeowners with written disclosures modeled on the federal "Know-Before-You-Owe" forms for mortgage lending.
The HERO Program goes even further with its disclosures, requiring that all customers confirm that they understand their financing terms in a recorded phone call with a HERO representative. In addition, all contractors who make PACE-financed improvements must have an active license and be in good standing with relevant state licensing boards – as well as maintain insurance and an ability to meet bonding requirements. If there are homeowner complaints, PACE providers must track and investigate them, and proactively work with contractors to resolve them.
People working with the media who wish to schedule interviews with local HERO representatives, elected officials, homeowners, or contractors, or to receive a media kit, please contact Matt Bevens at (619) 756-1626, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact: Matt Bevens
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SOURCE HERO Program