This clean energy home loan program has problems. California’s trying to fix them.


“The program, property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing, offers loans to help residential or commercial property owners pay for energy-efficient upgrades, such as solar panels, LED lighting and window insulation. The residential loans are typically around $25,000, and the terms are for up to 20 years. They are automatically paid back through the borrower’s property tax bill, making local governments responsible for collecting the payments.

The idea is that the energy savings generated from an upgrade would help property owners pay back the loan. Local governments that have launched PACE programs say they create jobs, help homeowners save money on their electricity bills and reduce their community’s energy footprint.

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But in California, which accounts for most of the program’s growth and is home to the nation’s first PACE program in Berkeley, the government-supported financing model has increasingly come under fire from those who are concerned that homeowners are taking out loans they can’t afford on the advice of contractors eager to profit from the installation work.”

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