Over at Greentech Media, clean energy reporter Katie Fehrenbacher has an excellent article about the current state of play with Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing - "among the most successful energy-efficiency financing tools in U.S. history." Fehrenbacher notes that PACE programs, "which fund building efficiency upgrades and rooftop solar panels through loans paid off in tandem with property taxes, are closing in on $4 billion in transactions across 140,000 American homes, and have created 35,000 jobs." And the creator of PACE's original concept, Renew Financial CEO Cisco Devries, is quoted that PACE today "is entering the big leagues and bringing the benefits and requirements that come with that."
That's all good news, but as Fehrenbacher's article explains, there have been some growing pains with PACE as well, including criticisms about "questionable lending practices akin to those that led to the subprime crisis -- and lack [of] both consumer protections and accountability in terms of energy savings achieved."
Fortunately, it appears that the the PACE financing industry has been hearing the critiques and is now "heavily focused on improving regulations and implementing more rules around how PACE should operate to protect consumers and potentially achieve energy-reduction goals." Also, to put the criticisms of PACE in perspective, DeVries notes that there " have been zero foreclosures due to PACE." Still, DeVries argues, the industry needs to "learn from issues that come up, address people’s fears and concerns, and go above and beyond other financing projects," including "execut[ing] at a very high standard."
Given the enormous benefits, both actual and potential, that PACE offers, we're glad to hear that DeVries and others are working to do what it takes to move this industry from "fairly nascent" to the "big leagues." We'll be following this closely in coming years.