San Francisco established the nation's largest Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program on Tuesday.
Mayor Gavin Newsom signed the final legislation making $150 million in bonding capacity available to private property owners to finance water conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements through a voluntary special property tax.
Studies have shown that the primary barrier preventing property owners from making these types of upgrades is high upfront costs. PACE programs are designed to remove that barrier. Each additional special property tax will be paid in full within 20 years. San Francisco property owners will be able to apply for financing beginning next month.
Oakland-based Renewable Funding (www.renewfund.com), a provider of PACE financing services, will administer the program and provide capital to fund the projects. San Francisco-based Stone & Youngberg and Backstrom McCarley Berry & Co. are serving as bond underwriters.
"San Francisco is once again leading the way by establishing the largest PACE program in the nation to date," said Cisco DeVries, president of Renewable Funding. "In signing this legislation, Mayor Newsom has put the final piece in place to allow tens of thousands of San Francisco property owners to have the opportunity to reduce their water and energy footprint, all while creating local green jobs."
The PACE model was developed in Berkeley, California. The concept is rapidly expanding across the country; 17 states have authorized PACE programs over the past 18 months.