Possible Pilot Program For Embattled PACE?

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A New York legislator is proposing that 300,000 homeowners participate in a 30-month demonstration project to determine the effectiveness of embattled Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency may decide Wednesday whether to adopt the idea, according to grist, an online alternative energy news source, which quoted Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y).

"Right now you've got the regulatory community advancing a theory about PACE bonds," he told grist. "You have PACE advocates advancing their theory. Let's test out which theory is valid. At the end of the 30-month period we'll have hard data on which to base decisions."

PACE programs, which allow property owners to pay for energy-efficiency upgrades to their homes through property-tax assessments, have drawn fire from FHFA and mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The three agencies say the program creates risk because PACE loans have priority over mortgage debt if the property owner defaults. Their reluctance to support the program has basically shut it down.

As a result, several counties in California, including Fresno and Kern, that planned programs are in limbo. State officials sued Fannie and Freddie and a House bill that would enable the programs to continue has been introduced.

Israel told grist that he would rather settle the dispute without going to court. His priority, he told grist, is to reinstate PACE programs in regions where they were suspended. Whether Fresno and Kern counties would be included is uncertain.

The San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization is a nonprofit dedicated to improving our region's quality of life by increasing its production and use of clean and alternative energy. The SJVCEO works with cities and counties and public and private organizations to demonstrate the benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy throughout the eight-county region of the
central San Joaquin Valley.