California County Boasts Largest PACE Program in the U.S.

Riverside County, Calif., is home to the largest and fastest-growing residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program in the country. HERO Financing is currently available to homeowners in western Riverside County who make energy-efficiency and renewable-energy upgrades and finance the work through their property taxes. Thanks to the overwhelming success of the program, HERO Financing is now available to communities throughout California.

Seventeen cities and the county of Riverside partnered with Renovate America, SAMAS Capital, Public Financial Management, and David Tausig and Associates to launch its HERO Financing program in December 2011. Since that time nearly 6,000 homeowners have applied and more than $100 million has been approved for home-energy projects.

“The rapid expansion of the HERO Financing Program shows us that this is the right program at the right time for our residents,” says city of Calimesa Council Member Jim Hyatt. “Homeowners are ready to make these investments, and convenient access to affordable financing seems to be making a difference in encouraging homeowners to move forward with these types of projects.”

HERO Financing allows property owners to make upgrades that conserve resources and lower utility bills while stimulating demand for local construction services. Registered contractors help homeowners apply for HERO, creating a one-stop approach to energy efficiency, water efficiency and renewable energy upgrades. Many contractors have found that offering HERO Financing is the catalyst in providing homeowners with the means to make their homes more efficient. To date, more than 530 contractors in Riverside County have registered with the program.

“HERO Financing has been a huge part of the growth my business has seen over the past few months. After years of having customers make upgrades only when absolutely necessary, I have been pleasantly surprised to see homeowners coming out of the woodwork to make the changes they have long dreamed about,” says Glen Rusche with Synergy Cos. Inc.

The HERO Program was developed in accordance with AB 811, which allows private property owners to pay for permanently affixed energy- and water-efficient products and renewable-energy systems over time through their property taxes. These improvements are paid for as an assessment on the property itself.

HERO-eligible products range from HVAC systems and insulation to water heating to solar systems. The HERO Financing Program leverages home equity to secure the property owner’s investment in energy efficient improvements. HERO offers low fixed interest rates with payments options of five, 10, 15 or 20 years, and interest is tax deductible.

“Cities and counties that are looking to provide a residential and commercial PACE solution can now do so through HERO. The program can co-exist with other PACE programs or serve as a stand-alone solution for cities and counties,” says Mark Rodgers with Renovate America.

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