California Energy Commission Cancels PACE Solicitation

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has canceled a $30 million solicitation that would have supported property-assessed clean energy (PACE) programs in 23 counties and 184 cities. The CEC's action, which responded to roadblocks created by recent actions of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), ended awards to five local governments and jurisdictions that were using PACE financing as the cornerstone of their county and statewide energy investment programs.

On July 6, the FHFA reversed its earlier position and damaged the authority of local governments to issue priority lien tax assessments by directing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to take punitive actions against homeowners who live in communities that participate in PACE financing programs, the CEC explains. The FHFA had originally stated that lenders should treat PACE assessments as any tax or assessment that may take priority over Fannie Mae's lien.

Five local governments that would have established PACE programs in 23 counties and 184 cities received $30 million of this total under the Municipal Financing Program. These entities were expected to leverage $370 million, create 4,353 jobs, save more than 336 million kWh of energy, and avoid the emissions of 187,264 tons of greenhouse gasses for the first two years of the program, according to the CEC.

‘The governor, California's Congressional delegation, the state legislature, the attorney general and 21 states recognize the crucial value PACE financing offers and are working with the White House to address the FHFA PACE financing issues,’ says Chairman Karen Douglas. ‘We are optimistic that this issue will be resolved.’

‘Given, however, the strict deadlines for expanding Recovery Act funds, the Energy Commission must act quickly to encumber the federal stimulus funds under the Municipal Financing Program in a way that supports and allows additional financing options, including PACE, to ensure that the benefits of this program are protected,’ she continues.

SOURCE: California Energy Commission

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