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Ohio may soon get back on PACE with solar and energy efficiency on-bill financing

Marc Lefkowitz  |  07/15/11 @ 3:37pm

Solar Today, one of the groups pushing for a resolution to the impasse on Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) where residential energy efficiency and solar panels are financed with on-bill payments backed by a property assessment announced some good news (it includes Ohio, which is one of the 27 states that approved PACE loans):

"Remember PACE, the innovative energy financing program that ran into a roadblock because of objections by the Federal Housing Finance Agency? Well, next week legislation will be introduced in Congress to fix the situation."

The "PACE Assessment Protection Act of 2011," to be introduced imminently by Congresspersons Nan Hayworth, Daniel Lungren and Mike Thompson (bi-partisan!), addresses potential concerns by establishing strict underwriting criteria and lender protections. It guarantees that PACE assessments will only be allowed for credit-worthy participants, and that improvements must be revenue positive. Details here.

In return, FHFA and other federal agencies simply have to back off, and let the 27 states that have passed enabling legislation for PACE programs get to work reducing energy use, saving homeowners money, and creating jobs. Seems like a fair deal.

We know that the program works: jurisdictions with PACE programs report higher construction and green job activity (See Boulder and Sonoma County)

And of the 2,565 homes with PACE assessments currently in place around the country, we know of only 2 defaults. That's 1/30th of the national average default rate-which is to be expected, as PACE lowers the cost of living, and puts homeowner in a better financial position. The irony is that PACE saves FHFA money, too.

This bill doesn't cost money, doesn't impose any government mandates, or touch non-participants' taxes.

The bill does restore states rights, does leverage private capital, and puts America to work saving homeowners money.

What's not to like? Email your Representative and ask them to be a co-sponsor.

While this is helpful for solar, it will do a lot for energy efficiency too, and energy efficiency is no joke.

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