Do New DOE PACE Guidelines Do Enough for Low-Income Residents?

The U.S. Department of Energy has updated its guidelines for property-assessed clean energy financing for homes, as residential property-assessed clean energy programs begin to blossom beyond California.

In a few short years, the residential PACE market has grown from nearly nothing to more than $2 billion. Most of the projects are in California, but there are also expanding markets in Florida and Missouri.

PACE programs allow investments in water- and energy-efficiency retrofits and distributed renewable generation to be paid back through property taxes, which lowers the risk for both lenders and property owners.

PACE financing can potentially open up a far larger swath of the energy-efficiency market than traditional programs have been able to. For example, in a few short years, PACE has become one of the largest loan programs by volume, according to Lawrence Berkeley Lab, with the Mass Save HEAT Loan program being the other leader.

The DOE guidelines are not binding, and are therefore limited — since they are essentially voluntary. Even if they were binding, they do not go far enough to protect consumers, some consumer groups argue.

Read more (Greentech Media)