VICTORVILLE, Calif. (news release) – HERO Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing has just relaunched in Victorville, once again giving owners of more than 27,000 local homes access to the largest residential PACE option in the country. HERO, in partnership with the California Statewide Communities Development Authority (CSCDA), empowers homeowners to make energy and efficiency improvements and pay for the upgrades over time through a voluntary, additional line item on their property taxes.
“Thanks to Victorville city leaders’ vision, homeowners can use HERO to make energy-saving and renewable-energy upgrades that can lower energy bills and increase home comfort,” said Dustin Reilich, Senior Director of Municipal Development for Renovate America, the company that administers HERO. “Each year, one in six property owners replaces a system in their home that affects energy consumption, and with HERO, homeowners have an opportunity to choose efficient options that save money in the long run.”
HERO first became available in Victorville in October 2013, and since then the owners of over 860 local homes have used the innovative financing option to make energy and efficiency improvements to their properties. HERO’s availability in Victorville was paused in June 2017 following an administrative change, but it was able to return to the community this month thanks in part to a new issuing partnership between CSCDA and Renovate America.
Ahead of last year’s heavy rain storms, Victorville homeowner Mary Consalvo used HERO to replace her home’s roof after more than 30 years of patching the original, and leaking, roof. “I don’t even want to think about what would have happened if we hadn’t gotten a new roof in time – HERO really helped our family out,” she said. “We’ve also noticed a big difference in the comfort of our home and energy costs since we installed the new roof.”
Upgrades financed through HERO help homeowners save energy and water, reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, and support local jobs – all at no cost to local government budgets. It is estimated that HERO-financed improvements since 2013 in Victorville have helped create over 140 local jobs, many of which cannot be offshored or automated. Additionally, these improvements are projected to save residents 115 million kilowatt hours of electricity over the expected useful lifetime of the products installed. That is enough energy to power over 12,000 homes for a full calendar year. These improvements are projected to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 33,000 tons over the useful life of the installed products – equivalent to taking more than 7,000 cars off the road for a year.
HERO’s adoption in Victorville follows Governor Jerry Brown’s recent signing of two new laws that establish a landmark regulatory and consumer-protection framework for PACE financing. The companion pieces of legislation – AB 1284 and SB 242 – begin taking effect on Jan. 1, 2018, and significantly improve PACE financing by, among other things, strengthening 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 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.
Eligible HERO improvements include rooftop solar, energy-efficient windows, high-efficiency heating and cooling, and water capture systems. 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.