Clean Power PACE California

Published on December 8th, 2013 | by Zachary Shahan


San Francisco Getting Back On The PACE Wagon!

December 8th, 2013 by  

Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing is one of the awesomest clean energy programs out there. Basically, here’s the summary: 1) your solar power system (or energy efficiency upgrade) is financed through government-issued bonds*; 2) you pay the bonds back through higher property taxes for a decade or two to come; 3) you save more money on your electricity bill from day 1 than you pay in higher property taxes. Furthermore, if you decide to sell your house, the beneficial system just carries over to the new owner.

PACE financing started in Berkeley in 2008. In 2009, Vice President Joe Biden planned to roll it out across the United States. Then, in 2010, the Federal Housing Finance Agency cut the program off at the knees all across the nation with the claim that the loans posed an unacceptable risk to mortgage lenders, even though the program allowed homeowners to cut their electricity bills and electricity is one of the last things people decide to stop paying when in financial difficulties. The argument was based on the fact that the PACE loans attached to the properties as liens, which would make paying them back a priority over paying back mortgage lenders.

Despite no change in perspective on behalf of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, PACE programs have started to resurface across the US, including in the giant and sunny states of Florida and California. In the case of California, a $10 million fund has been set aside just in case a bank forecloses on a home with PACE-funded solar or energy efficiency improvements in order to take care of any losses that federal agencies would face in that case.

GreenFinanceSF, San Francisco’s PACE program, is now supposed to relaunch in early 2014. San Francisco Supervisor Mark Farrell has introduced a resolution to re-open the program and get back on the PACE wagon.

Notably, over 100 California cities have implemented PACE through the HERO Program, part of Renovate America, which was set up in response to the death knell to conventional PACE programs that was delivered by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. In April, as we reported at the time, the number was 41. In Western Riverside County, California, where HERO (which stands for Home Energy Renovation Opportunity) was launched in 2011, over $100 million worth of projects have been approved, involving over 530 contractors and created an estimated 2,500+ jobs. Talk about an economic success story!

PACE California

"Time is on our side," Farrell told SFGate regarding his drive to restart GreenFinanceSF. "It would be a game-changer if the FHFA did an about-face, but there's already a real movement out there to push forward on this."

"I know San Francisco homeowners are eager to contribute to the city's greenhouse gas reduction goals, and this is a great way to do that and save money and create jobs for our local economy," said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.

And SFGate also notes that the federal government may actually change its stance on PACE sometime soon. "The Housing Finance Agency may soon get a new director, North Carolina Rep. Mel Watt. His appointment had been filibustered by Senate Republicans, but Democrats changed the filibuster rules last week, easing Watt's path to confirmation."

"We think he'll provide a fresh look at this when a fresh look is warranted," said Cisco DeVries, who drafted Berkeley's program.

*There is some variation in whom the financing partner is; sometimes it isn't the local government. In the case of GreenFinanceSF, it's going to be through private financing. 
Get CleanTechnica's 1st (completely free) electric car report → "Electric Cars: What Early Adopters & First Followers Want."
Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) one letter at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. Otherwise, he's probably enthusiastically fulfilling his duties as the director/editor of EV Obsession, Gas2, Solar Love, Planetsave, or Bikocity; or as president of Important Media. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, energy storage, and wind energy expert. If you would like him to speak at a related conference or event, connect with him via social media:, .

Back to Top ↑
  • Advertisements

  • Top Posts & Pages

  • Cool Cleantech Events

    Low Voltage Electrification Event, April 25-27. Detroit, Michigan (US)
    Delve deep into the benefits and challenges associated with EV power supply.

    Offshore Wind Market Development USA, May 11-12, Boston, Massachusetts (US)
    Network and establish your business in one of North America’s largest energy industries.

    Energy Storage USA, June 15-16, San Diego, California (US)
    Only event in the United States focused exclusively on the commercialization of storage.

    More details are on: Cleantech Events.

  • Advertisement

  • CleanTechnica Electric Car Report

    Electric Cars Early Adopters First Followers
  • Tesla Model 3 Review by EVANNEX

    Tesla Model 3 Review from EVANNEX
  • Tesla Model 3 Exclusive Video

    Tesla Model 3 Video
  • Tesla Model 3 Exclusive Pictures

    Tesla Model 3 Video
  • Tesla Model X Review #1 (Video)

    Tesla Model X Review from new owners Zach Shahan
  • Tesla Model X Review #2 (Pictures)

    Tesla Model X Review from Kyle Field
  • Tesla Model S Long-Term Review

    Tesla Model S Long Term Review from Kyle Field
  • Nissan LEAF Long-Term Review

    Nissan LEAF Long Term Review from Cynthia Shahan
  • Interview with Michael Liebreich

    Interview with Michael Liebreich
  • Interview with Akon (Teslas & Solar)

    Interview with Akon Tesla Model S Tesla Model X Solar Power Africa
  • Interview with Dr Nawal Al-Hosany

    Interview with Dr Nawal Al-Hosany
  • Interview with Gro Brundtland

    Gro Brundtland
  • Interview with President of Iceland

    President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson
  • Interview with Nick Sampson

    Faraday Future VP Nick Sampson
  • Interview with Dipal Barua

    Dipal Barua 1st ZFEP WInner
  • Interview with Jonathon Porritt

    Jonathon Porritt
  • Interview with Clint Wilder

    Interview with Clint Wilder
  • Interviews with Solar Impulse Pilots

    Bertrand Piccard Andre Borschberg
  • Check out more CleanTechnica Videos.

  • Join The Solar Revolution!

    Edison-solar-energy solar-energy-spill-nice-day
  • Cost of Solar Panels

  • Search the IM Network