A new program will allow local businesses to more easily finance energy efficiency upgrades, and soon residents will be able to take advantage of the program, too.
The Turlock City Council recently approved Property Assessed Clean Energy lending in the City of Turlock, allowing property owners to make green upgrades and pay off the loan via an annual assessment on their property tax bills.
“We're providing the residents and business owners of Turlock a new source of revenue to provide renewable energy,” said Turlock City Councilmember Steven Nascimento. “It has been very successful in other communities, and it does provide financing in situations where the typical financing available does not pencil out.”
Most loans are for 15 or 20 year terms, reducing upfront costs of upgrades. The loan is also attached to a property, rather than an individual.
The money can be used to finance any number of green upgrades, like installing solar panels, dual-pane windows, electric car chargers, or energy-efficient heating and air conditioners.
News of the PACE program first reached the Turlock City Council in January. At that time, Mayor John Lazar brought back word of PACE from the annual League of California Cities conference.
“I thought it was a great vehicle, particularly for homeowners to replace their heating and air systems,” Lazar said.
The program isn't for everyone, according to John Law, Director of Municipal Development for PACE lender HERO California. But for some, the program can offer a better interest rate, tax deductible interest, and a 90 second approval process.
HERO California alone has financed more than $3 million of residential PACE loans per week in recent months. On the commercial side, single projects ranging from churches to warehouses to manufacturing facilities have received as much as $4 million.
Currently, lenders are authorized only to make PACE loans to businesses in Turlock, as some federal lenders have concerns with the residential program. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will not buy home mortgages with PACE assessments, and may consider PACE loans to be in violation of existing mortgages.
HERO California and the other PACE lenders approved to operate in Turlock, FigTREE and CaliforniaFIRST, will work with the local contracting community in the coming months to provide more information about offering PACE financing.