Over 340 homes in Oakdale and Riverbank have been made more energy-efficient, or have had renewable energy systems installed since HERO Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing became available to area homeowners in 2014. HERO is an innovative finance mechanism that empowers homeowners to make energy and efficiency improvements – such as replacing inefficient HVAC systems, installing new windows and doors, or going solar – and to pay for them over time through a voluntary, additional line item on their property taxes.
PACE programs like HERO are a unique kind of public-private partnership: In addition to enabling homeowners to modernize their homes, save energy and water and enhance their comfort at home, these programs help local communities meet broader public-policy goals, such as boosting economic activity. And because HERO relies solely on private capital, these benefits can be achieved at no cost to local government budgets.
“The kind of sustained job growth and economic stimulus we’re seeing with PACE is just what we need in here in our backyard,” said Oakdale Realtor Ricardo Jimenez. “I applaud our local leaders for providing this choice for homeowners in our area. PACE has proven to be a valuable driver of our local clean-energy economy, and it is emerging as a powerful tool for all of California.”
HERO financing first launched in Oakdale and Riverbank in 2014, and has created or sustained over 340 regional jobs, many of which cannot be automated or outsourced. HERO-financed home upgrades are projected to save homeowners over 60 million kilowatt-hours of electricity – and more than $12.5 million on their energy bills – over the expected useful life of the products installed. That is enough energy to power over 6,800 homes for a full calendar year. The improvements are also projected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 16,000 tons – equivalent to taking more than 3,100 cars off the road for a year.
Homeowners interested in applying for HERO financing or who wish to learn more should visit renovateamerica.com/financing/hero/communities. Contractors interested in offering HERO financing can register at renovateamerica.com/contractors.
“HERO is thrilled to offer this solution to local homeowners who want to invest in their properties, cut their energy use and help boost the local economy,” said Charly Norton, Director of Market Communications for Renovate America, which administers HERO PACE financing. “Area families are saving money, making their homes more comfortable and doing their part for the environment – all high-impact benefits that strengthen the community as a whole.”
In 2016 and 2017, California – the country’s largest PACE market – passed a series of laws that established a landmark consumer-protection and regulatory framework for PACE financing. The three bills – AB 2693, passed in 2016, and SB 242 and AB 1284, passed in 2017 – enhances the homeowner experience with PACE by, among other things, increasing contractor oversight, enhancing consumer disclosures, and requiring PACE providers to verify a homeowner’s ability to pay annual PACE assessments before extending financing.
These enhanced consumer protections build upon HERO’s industry-leading safeguards, such as live, recorded telephone calls (available in Spanish) to confirm financing terms with homeowners, written disclosures modeled on the federal “Know-Before-You-Owe” forms for mortgage lending and a guarantee that contractors do not get paid until homeowners certify that a project is done to their satisfaction. HERO also uses a data-driven contractor quality rating system that tracks customer satisfaction in real-time and removes contractors that fail to maintain excellent or good ratings. And unlike other forms of financing, such as credit cards or home-equity loans, PACE can only be used to finance qualified home energy-efficiency and renewable-energy improvements.