Governor Jerry Brown Signs PACE Consumer Protection Framework
Statement from Renew Financial CEO Cisco DeVries on Landmark Legislation
OAKLAND, Calif., Oct. 5, 2017 – One of the most successful energy-efficiency financing programs in history just got markedly better today as Governor Jerry Brown signed two new bills into law that create a comprehensive consumer protection, underwriting and regulatory framework for Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE).
Two companion pieces of legislation – AB 1284, co-authored by Assembly Member Matt Dababneh, Senator Nancy Skinner, and Assembly Member Ian Calderon, and SB 242, co-authored by Senator Skinner and Assembly Member Dababneh – are the result of a year of development and negotiations among low-income consumer advocates, environmental and clean-energy groups, the banking industry, and private sector PACE program administrators aimed at improving PACE by strengthening consumer protections.
"Renew Financial is proud to stand with Governor Jerry Brown to strengthen PACE financing for California homeowners," said Cisco DeVries, CEO of Renew Financial and the innovator of PACE financing. "Since our founding nearly a decade ago, Renew Financial has put consumer protections at the heart of our business. This legislation establishes strong industry standards and a robust regulatory framework that will benefit homeowners uniformly across the state. This is a turning point for PACE and these laws will serve as a model for other states that adopt PACE financing so they can provide homeowners with an effective financing option to make their properties more efficient, comfortable and secure."
PACE is a California success story that has empowered more than 150,000 homeowners to make energy and efficiency improvements to their properties and pay for them over time via an additional line item on their property taxes. The innovative public-private partnership at the heart of PACE financing is saving homeowners billions of dollars on their utility bills, reducing greenhouse-gas emissions by millions of tons, and creating thousands of clean-energy jobs – at no cost to local-government budgets.
AB 1284 significantly enhances PACE underwriting, regulates PACE at the state level, and enforces compliance with all PACE laws by PACE administrators and individual contractors. Specifically, the new law:
Strengthens and standardizes the current underwriting standards in PACE based on home equity and on-time mortgage and tax payment history; and requires that the most accurate Automated Valuation Models are used for establishing the value of the home;
Establishes new underwriting standards predicated on income verification and ability-to-pay to determine that property owners can meet their annual PACE obligation in addition to their current debt obligations and basic household expenses; and
Establishes a licensing and regulatory framework for the PACE industry in California, which will be subject to oversight by the California Department of Business Oversight (DBO).
SB 242 establishes state-of-the-art consumer protections, further setting PACE apart from other forms of financing. Chief among these is the requirement that PACE providers conduct a recorded, live, confirmation of terms call with property owners before they sign their assessment contract, as a reinforcement to written disclosures modeled on the federal Know Before You Owe mortgage form. The new law also establishes data reporting requirements to local government partners, including data that speaks to the projected energy and water savings and local economic and job impacts, as well as on categories of products installed and homeowners served.
About Renew Financial
Renew Financial Group LLC (“Renew Financial”) is one of the nation's leading home improvement financing companies. Renew Financial administers and provides multiple financing products across the country, with programs available in several states, including Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs operating in California and Florida. PACE is a financing tool enabled by state and local governments that provides homeowners and business owners with access to private capital to finance the entire cost of renewable energy, energy efficiency, water conservation, seismic, and wind mitigation upgrades, and then pay for those upgrades on their property tax bill. PACE was named by Scientific American as one of the "top 20 ideas that can change the world." PACE is a job-creating policy tool that enjoys broad support, having been championed in state legislatures and local communities nationwide by business leaders, advocacy organizations and elected officials from both sides of the aisle.
Renew Financial is a pending trademark of Renew Financial Holdings Inc.