Bennet Preserves Financing for Clean Energy Retrofits

Washington, D.C. - Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today led an effort with Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) to ensure that homeowners can continue to use PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) financing to install solar energy and make energy and water efficiency upgrades.

"PACE financing creates jobs, saves energy, decreases pollution, and reduces costs for homeowners and businesses," Bennet said. "It makes no sense to scrap a highly-effective program that is a private sector approach to improving energy and water efficiency. We fought hard to reach this bipartisan compromise so homeowners of all incomes can continue to use PACE financing while also improving consumer protections."

The compromise language-released today as part of a larger Senate Banking Committee bill-will keep the PACE program intact by directing regulators to develop rules that ensure consumers are able to pay for PACE financing. In particular, the bill requires the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau to create ability to re-pay underwriting standards under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA). This will improve consumer protection while allowing homeowners to continue to use this type of financing.

This bipartisan compromise was made in response to efforts to subject the PACE program to overly burdensome standards that were designed for different financial products, like mortgages.

Since 2007, PACE has helped more than 150,000 families upgrade their homes and created an estimated 30,000 local jobs, while also saving more than 10 billion gallons of water and reducing carbon emissions by more than 4 million tons.

In a joint statement, Renovate America, Ygrene Energy Fund, and Renew Financial-the nation's leading PACE provider-said, "Today's bipartisan agreement on PACE signals a win for consumers in the home improvement marketplace. The PACE provision in this legislation builds on comprehensive consumer protection, home improvement contractor performance requirements, clear disclosures, and ability-to-pay legislation enacted at the State level in the largest market for PACE financing in the nation."