What’s New!

White House and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) commit to a Clean Energy Savings for all Americans including Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE)

SANTA ROSA, Calif. – For Immediate Release – On July 19, 2016, the Obama Administration released a Clean Energy Savings for all Americans Initiative that includes Federal Housing Administration (FHA) support and guidance regarding residential PACE.  The initiative expands access to renewable energy, energy efficiency, and water conservation projects for homeowners.  The guidance allows existing PACE assessments to coexist with mortgages secured by the FHA.  The guidelines also clarify that PACE is a tax assessment that runs with the property and is not a loan product.

State and local governments sponsor PACE financing to encourage energy efficiency, solar energy deployment, advance resilience, create jobs, promote economic development, and protect the environment.

“…We’re seizing the opportunity to shape a cleaner and more sustainable nation,” said Ed Golding, HUD Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Housing. “Using PACE, families will be able to make their homes more energy efficient and sustainable in the long run, while still keeping their costs affordable today. As PACE programs continue to develop across the nation, the positive impact on families, jobs, and the environment will only grow.”

In addition to the FHA, the Department of Veterans Affairs also released guidance  regarding loan processing requirements guaranteed by the VA.

For detailed information:

White House:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/07/19/fact-sheet-obama-administration-announces-clean-energy-savings-all

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYhzg6XTOjY&feature=youtu.be

https://medium.com/@WhiteHouse/how-ida-went-solar-and-why-it-means-you-can-too-7dc4ed09930a#.urepc3y0m

 

HUD/FHA:

http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=16-11ml.pdf

http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/press/press_releases_media_advisories/2016/HUDNo_16-110

 

DOE:

http://www.energy.gov/eere/articles/energy-department-releases-draft-updated-best-practices-residential-pace-financing

http://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2016/07/f33/best-practice-pace_0.pdf

 

PR/Wire:

http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/07/prweb13563010.htm

 

Veteran’s Affairs:

http://www.benefits.va.gov/HOMELOANS/documents/circulars/26_16_18.pdf

Workshop Introduces Property Owners to Building Performance and PACE Financing

More than 80 property owners from around the county joined the Energy Independence Office for a free Energy Efficiency and Financing workshop on January 12th to learn how to become more energy and water efficient, save money, increase home comfort, and add solar panels to their homes.

Workshop presenters covered topics from PACE financing to water and energy saving programs.  They provided an informative overview of how to accomplish these improvements including where to start, which to choose, and how to pay for them.

If you missed it, the presentation slides are available:

Home Energy Workshop - January 2016

Many energy efficiency measures can improve your home or commercial building’s indoor air quality and comfort as well as reducing your energy bills.  To learn how you can reduce your energy and water use with HVAC improvements, windows, insulation, solar photovoltaics (PV), and other measures call the program office at 707-565-6470 .

Treasurer Chiang Suspends Fees for Water and Energy Efficiency Program.

Annual Savings Could Total $750,000 for Participants

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – For Immediate Release – State Treasurer John Chiang today announced the suspension of administrative fees for the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Loss Reserve Program, which allows California homeowners to finance energy and water efficiency projects through property assessment payments over a five-, 10- or 20-year period.

“This popular program enables homeowners to finance energy-efficient windows, heating and air-conditioning systems, solar power and water conservation measures,” Chiang said. “I hope that by cutting fees we will make it more affordable for more Californians to make green investments in their own homes.”

The program, which currently supports $350 million of PACE financing, is part of the State’s larger efforts to promote California-based jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions while limiting air and water pollution. The fees were cut when the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority (CAEATFA), chaired by Chiang, adopted emergency regulations at a meeting Tuesday in Sacramento.

The most active PACE program is the Western Riverside County of Government’s Home Energy Renovation Opportunity (HERO) Program, which has enrolled $189 million in financings. Another $80 million has been enrolled by a similar program in neighboring San Bernardino County. A complete list of local programs can be found here.

“We in Sonoma County are very pleased that Treasurer Chiang took no time in removing the fees for the CAEATFA loss reserve program. This program protects mortgage lenders from any losses that could result from a PACE assessment,” said David Sundstrom, Sonoma County’s auditor-controller and treasurer-tax collector. “Removing the fees will help promote energy efficient retrofits and move us toward our goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and our dependency on foreign oil.”

Previously, the program required participants to pay an administrative fee of one quarter of one percent of the principal value of each enrolled financing, or roughly $50 for each $20,000 of financing. Suspension of the program’s administrative fee could save enrolled PACE programs and homeowners an estimated $750,000 annually.

The PACE Loss Reserve program has supported 17,401 financings since its launch. It covers first mortgage lenders for PACE payments paid while the first mortgage lender is in possession of a foreclosed property and losses incurred resulting from PACE assessments being paid before the outstanding balance in a forced sale.

Visit the Treasurer’s website to learn more about the PACE Loss Reserve Program.

Read this press release in Spanish.

For more news, please follow the Treasurer on Twitter at @CalTreasurer , and on Facebook at California State Treasurer’s Office.

 

Sonoma County Adds Two Energy Efficiency Financing Options for Local Residents and Businesses.

SANTA ROSA, Calif. – For Immediate Release – Beginning in 2015, Sonoma County property owners will have more choices when it comes to Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing. Since March 2009, residential and business property owners have been able to utilize PACE through the Sonoma County Energy Independence Program (SCEIP) to finance their energy efficiency, water conservation and solar upgrades.

Under a new initiative, called the PACE Financing Marketplace, residential and business property owners will have more PACE financing options available to them. In particular, the CaliforniaFIRST and California HERO programs will work alongside the County’s SCEIP and together work to reach the many goals and benefits that PACE financing has to offer.

“Our Energy Independence program has funded over $68 million in energy efficiency, water conservation and solar upgrades,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman David Rabbitt, “this shows our community’s commitment to energy conservation and sustainability. By bringing in additional opportunities for financing, we can give our residents and businesses even greater opportunities to improve their homes and worksites.”

The County established SCEIP as a key strategy to reach the community climate action goals of retrofitting 80% of the existing buildings with a 30% efficiency improvement in Sonoma County by 2015. The addition of CaliforniaFIRST and the California HERO programs will add significant capacity to help reach that goal, and provide greater financing choices.

The CaliforniaFIRST program operates under the auspices of the California Statewide Communities Development Authority (CSCDA), the CaliforniaFIRST residential PACE program launched in the summer of 2014 in 17 California counties and 167 cities, with statewide expansion plans planned by late this year.  CaliforniaFIRST makes renewable energy and energy and water efficiency projects more affordable and accessible for millions of California homeowners.

The HERO program was started up in December 2011 with a partnership between the Western Riverside Council of Governments and Renovate America, Inc. Since then, the program has been extended to 202 communities in California, helping to fund more than 18,836 residential projects totalling more than $344 million in financing and creating more than 2,816 jobs throughout California.

 

Updated SCEIP Application and Documents Incorporating Program Changes and Implementing the New Statewide PACE Loss Reserve Program Fee

On June 26th, 2014, SCEIP was approved by the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Authority (CAEATFA) to participate in the statewide residential PACE Loss Reserve Program fund.

Our entire existing residential portfolio is covered by the PACE Loss Reserve Program and any future residential applications will be as well.  In order to participate we were required to adhere to the statutes of the fund and in doing so, we have made some minor adjustments and added a new one-time fee for any future residential applications.

As of Monday, July 7th, 2014 any new applications submitted to SCEIP will be subject to the additional fee and you must submit the new updated forms we have posted online.

Program Changes: previously, we allowed the requested financing to be “up to 10% of the property value.”  We now allow the requested financing to be “less than 10%,” or 9.99% for residential properties.

A residential application is considered three or fewer units.  All others are treated as commercial PACE applicants.

All property taxes for the subject property must show no defaults for the previous three years (or since Property Owner took ownership if less than three years).  For all other properties owned in Sonoma County, the property taxes must be current.

A one-time administrative fee of 0.0025 (0.25%) of the principal value of each assessment will be applied.  Payment is due for each residential application at the time final disbursement is requested.  This fee is included in the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) calculation of the assessment.

Statewide PACE Loss Reserve Program

The Goal: The Program is intended to remove any additional risk to the first mortgage lender resulting from the existence of a PACE assessment on a property in a foreclosure or forced sale for unpaid taxes.

Additionally, by tracking the performance of PACE portfolios over the next several years, the Program should provide more detailed information on the actual credit risk associated with PACE financing than is currently available.  This information will be useful for potential investors in PACE bonds and securities and may allow them to accept lower returns on these investments.

The Basics: The state legislature has provided $10 million to compensate mortgage lenders for losses.  Municipal governments that choose to participate in the Program will agree to various administrative reporting requirements and financing qualification standards.  The Program will cover two specific types of losses for first mortgage lenders:

1. If a first mortgage lender forecloses on a property with a PACE assessment, the Program will cover the amount of property tax attributable to the PACE lien that is paid by the first mortgage lender while in possession of the property.  The Program will also cover penalties and interest if accrued through no fault of the first mortgage lender.

2. If a County conducts a forced sale on a property for unpaid taxes, the Program will cover any losses to the first mortgage lender up to the amount of overdue PACE payments.

For a summary of Program Changes click Program Changes

 

Bipartisan Bill Will Ensure Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Cannot Undermine Local Clean Energy Programs

March 26, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Reps. Mike Thompson (D-CA-5), Pete King (R-NY-2) and Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY-18) introduced the bipartisan Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Assessment Protection Act of 2014. The legislation, HR 4285, helps spur local job creation and increase energy efficiency by enabling State and local governments to develop and implement PACE programs through local government financing of residential and nonresidential energy efficiency improvements. PACE programs – currently available in 31 states and the District of Columbia – allow property owners to finance the purchase and installation of energy retrofits to their homes and businesses and then pay for them each year as part of their property tax.

“Not only is PACE one of the most innovative and successful solutions to our nation’s energy crisis, it’s a proven job creator that saves property owners money by lowering their energy costs and maintaining, and in some instances increasing, the value of their homes and properties,” said Thompson. “With PACE, homeowners and businesses’ utility costs are lowered, people are put to work, and our nation gets the benefit of reduced energy use, increased energy independence and a cleaner environment – all at no cost to the taxpayers. Our bill will allow every community in America to take advantage of this great program.”

“I am proud to support legislation that allows homeowners to continue to use the PACE program to finance clean energy upgrades, which creates jobs and lowers energy costs for consumers,” said King.

“With my neighbors already facing astronomical energy costs, we need to get rid of needless bureaucracy and start helping our homeowners invest in the technology of the future,” said Maloney. “Communities like Bedford, Somers and Pound Ridge are leading the nation to reduce energy consumption through PACE financing, and we need to cut through the red tape to ensure they can continue create jobs and increase energy efficiency by expanding this innovative program.”

Specifically, the PACE Assessment Protection Act would direct the FHFA to rescind its 2010 policy guidance that directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to discontinue guaranteeing mortgages with PACE assessments. FHFA issued this policy guidance because it was concerned that if properties with a PACE assessment went into foreclosure, the PACE assessment would be repaid before Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which insured the mortgage. This policy guidance treats PACE differently than any other assessment. Under many state and local laws, most assessments, like property taxes and home owner association liens, are repaid before the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) and other mortgage holders. To address FHFA’s concerns, the bill establishes minimum underwriting standards to ensure that homeowners are able to afford the PACE assessments, thereby protecting Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from financial risk.

Because a majority of new mortgages are underwritten by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, homeowners have essentially been unable to participate in PACE. If they did choose to participate in PACE then attempt to sell their house, a potential buyer would not be able to get a mortgage for the home because Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could not insure the mortgage. This has caused PACE programs to be effectively halted throughout the country.

PACE is a voluntary program that allows state and local governments to work together to meet the economic and environmental needs of their communities at no cost to taxpayers.  The program is not mandated by Washington, D.C. so communities, which know better than Washington what suits their local needs, can make PACE work for them.

In Sonoma County, California, which has one of the most successful PACE programs in our country, PACE has been responsible for more than $53 million in local investment and has helped create and support more than 700 jobs.

The legislation is supported by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, National League of Cities, California State Association of Counties (CSAC), and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

HR 4285 has been referred to the House Committee on Financial services.

Click here to read HR 4285

 

PACE Reserve Fund

Reserve Fund to Ease Federal Concerns, Help Program Flourish

SACRAMENTO – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. and State Treasurer Bill Lockyer today announced key actions approved late yesterday to help revive and expand the popular Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program, which makes residential energy and water efficiency projects more affordable and accessible for California homeowners by enabling them to pay off these investments over time on their property tax bills.

“PACE enables homeowners to buy solar panels, install low-flow toilets and make other smart investments that save energy and water without breaking the bank,” said Governor Brown. “As California confronts a severe drought and a rapidly changing climate, this program gives homeowners another opportunity to do their part.”

Yesterday’s action creates a $10 million mortgage loss reserve program, administered by the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority (CAEATFA), which Treasurer Lockyer chairs.

“PACE financing gives homeowners a practical and affordable way to save energy, reduce global warming and improve our air quality while adding to the value of their property,” said Lockyer. “The loss reserve program should allow PACE financing to flourish.”

The loss reserve program, approved late yesterday by the Office of Administrative Law (OAL), is intended to ease concerns expressed by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) by providing funds to reimburse the first mortgage lender for the PACE payments it paid while in possession of the property during a foreclosure. In addition, the reserve can cover overdue PACE payments in the event the county sells the property for unpaid taxes.

PACE allows local government agencies to sell bonds to finance energy and water efficiency, and renewable energy generation projects on residential property. Participating homeowners have liens placed on their homes, and pay off the liens with monthly payments on their property tax bills. Projects such as the purchase and installation of low-flow toilets, home insulation, solar panels or Energy Star Qualified light fixtures may be eligible for financing.

In 2010, residential PACE financing programs had been largely halted because the FHFA determined that PACE financing put first mortgage lenders at risk, including those backed by the federal government, in cases of foreclosure or forced sale for unpaid property taxes.

Over the last four years, Governor Brown has been working to establish PACE as a viable option for homeowners. As Attorney General, he sued FHFA to prevent them from promulgating rules that would have stymied the program and asked President Obama to intervene. Along with the Obama Administration and bipartisan support in Congress, Governor Brown has continued to support PACE financing for clean energy and energy and water efficient upgrades for California homeowners.

Lockyer has long been supportive of PACE financing. In 2012, he urged the FHFA to adopt loan risk mitigation rules that would protect lenders, while allowing communities and homeowners to benefit from the availability of PACE financing.

Energy Independence Program Community Advisory Group

The purpose of the Energy Independence Program Community Advisory Group will be to address issues or changes related to services and service delivery by the Energy Independence Program.  More specifically, the Group will provide input to the Program Administrator on areas where improved services or processes are needed, work to develop possible solutions to these issues, and provide feedback on proposals developed by Energy Independence staff.  Members will represent a broad cross-section of stakeholders, with complementary expertise and diverse backgrounds, served by the Energy Independence Program.  The Program Administrator would like the Community Advisory Group to meet on a quarterly basis.  The initial meeting is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, November 6th.  The Energy Independence Program is currently accepting Notice of Interest forms from community members to participate in the Energy Independence Program Community Advisory Group.

If you are interested in becoming a member, please fill out and submit your 

Notice Of Interest For SCEIP Community Advisory Group

no later than September 27th, 2013.  Since this is an advisory body to the Program Administrator, selection of members will be at his discretion.

Windsor Efficiency PAYS®

Town of Windsor Approves Innovative Water Conservation Program, the First of Its Kind in the State of California

Windsor Efficiency PAYS logo. For accessibility assistance, please call SCEIP at (707) 565-6470.

Windsor residents will now be able to participate in Windsor Efficiency PAYS®, a new, innovative water conservation program that provides residents with immediate savings on utility bills and requires no upfront cost or new debt.  The program provides for the installation of very efficient products and appliances, as well as dry-summer, drought resistant landscaping that will reduce water use, conserve energy and save money.

“Windsor Efficiency PAYS® provides a real win/win for local residents and the Town,” said Town of Windsor Mayor Debora Fudge, “Windsor residents will be able to enjoy new efficient appliances and can replace their lawns with low water landscaping, which will save them money.  The Town can reduce its demand on our limited water supply, and future costs associated with expanding our infrastructure will be minimized while also reducing the Town’s overall environmental impact.”

The PAYS® model is being piloted through a joint effort of the Town of Windsor, Sonoma County Regional Climate Protection Authority (RCPA), and the U.S. Department of Energy, in an effort to eliminate water and energy waste and address consumer concern for rising utility costs.

“The PAYS® program works because it allows program participants to “pay as you save®” with no loan and no debt associated with repayment,” said Paul Piazza, Water Conservation Program Coordinator for the Town of Windsor.  “Participants are offered a specified selection of upgrade measures, such as high efficiency washing machines, toilets, showerheads/aerators, and drought resistant landscaping; after installation, participants pay a surcharge on their water bill with the assurance that their estimated savings on combined utility bills (energy/water) will exceed the bi-monthly water surcharge.”

Since PAYS® program offers the assurance that savings will exceed monthly surcharges, utility customers must meet eligibility requirements to participate.  A Certified Contractor will determine eligibility based on the customer’s current water and energy usage.

“We are very excited to expand the tools available to residents who want to reduce their water and energy bills,” said RCPA Chairwoman Valerie Brown.  “The Town of Windsor has stepped up to lead the way on this pilot program and the RCPA is eager to work with them to ensure success.”

For more information, visit the Windsor Efficiency PAYS® website at www.windsorefficiencypays.com or call (707) 565-6472.  To view a full copy of this press release, click here.

Healdsburg Electric Department’s Energy Efficiency Programs & Incentives

Healdsburg Electric Department

The City of Healdsburg and the Sonoma County Energy Independence Program (SCEIP) are excited to announce their new partnership in energy efficiency!

Healdsburg Electric Department, as a Publicly Owned Utility, provides energy efficiency programs and other incentives to Healdsburg Electric customers.

Today, the program consists of low-income subsidies for electric customers, energy efficiency programs for residential and commercial customers, incentives for new solar systems, and some development of renewable energy projects. Funding for these programs comes from the Public Benefits surcharge of each monthly electric bill.

To provide the best possible energy efficiency program, the City has entered into a partnership with SCEIP to provide competent and experienced professionals to support Healdsburg’s energy efficiency program goals.

SCEIP will provide oversight to the City’s activities and efforts with regard to the administration, development, management, evaluation, and promotion of energy efficiency programs. In addition, SCEIP will continue to seek grant opportunities consistent with the City’s customer composition as well as custom energy efficiency programs with a broad, city-wide appeal.  For more information, please click HERE.

The City of Healdsburg and the Sonoma County Energy Independence Program (SCEIP) are excited to announce their new partnership in energy efficiency!

Healdsburg Electric Department, as a Publicly Owned Utility, provides energy efficiency programs and other incentives to Healdsburg Electric customers.

Today, the program consists of low-income subsidies for electric customers, energy efficiency programs for residential and commercial customers, incentives for new solar systems, and some development of renewable energy projects. Funding for these programs comes from the Public Benefits surcharge of each monthly electric bill.

To provide the best possible energy efficiency program, the City has entered into a partnership with SCEIP to provide competent and experienced professionals to support Healdsburg’s energy efficiency program goals.

SCEIP will provide oversight to the City’s activities and efforts with regard to the administration, development, management, evaluation, and promotion of energy efficiency programs. In addition, SCEIP will continue to seek grant opportunities consistent with the City’s customer composition as well as custom energy efficiency programs with a broad, city-wide appeal.  For more information, please click HERE.

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Sonoma County Energy Independence Program
2300 County Center Dr.,
Suite A105
Santa Rosa, California
95403-3009

Phone: (707) 565-6470
Fax: (707) 565-6474
Email: sceip@sonoma-county.org

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