When an energy services contractor sits down with a family at their dinner table to discuss the details of an efficient HVAC upgrade, solar installation, cool roof, or other energy upgrades, one question always comes up: “How will I pay for it?”
PACE financing is, increasingly, the answer to that question. PACE offers a more affordable and accessible way to finance energy efficiency, water efficiency, and renewable energy improvements to homes and commercial buildings. PACE programs have already funded over $3 billion in energy upgrades across the nation, and this increased investment has created stable work for local contractors — often family-owned businesses that have served their communities’ needs for HVAC, plumbing, roofing, and landscaping services for decades.
One business owner, Pete Mazucca of Cal-Vintage Roofing, said offering PACE to his customers has led to “a much happier kitchen-table conversation, alleviating customer concerns about reroofing costs and ultimately increasing our business by 20 percent.”
Pete’s is just one example of thousands: PACE has already created an estimated 33,000 new jobs since the first programs launched in 2008. The HERO PACE Program estimates that its $2.03 billion PACE commitments have already created over 17,000 jobs in California, Florida, and Missouri. The Ygrene Works program calculates that its PACE activity of almost $600 million in California and Florida has created 8,600 jobs. Renew Financial estimates its CaliforniaFIRST program has created more than 8,000 jobs.
Looking at the economy more broadly, a recent analysis showed that “energy efficiency is the largest sector within the U.S. clean energy economy, accounting for three in four of its jobs and employing nearly 1.9 million people nationwide.” And according to the National Solar Jobs Census, the solar industry now employs over 200,000 people; the growing sector accounted for one out of 80 new U.S. jobs since the 2008 recession. These jobs are hard to outsource, and the equipment installed by these workers is also, in large part, made in America. On average, 90 percent of common product components used in efficiency retrofits are made in the States.
PACE accelerates investments in solar and efficiency because it fills a gap in the market. Customers qualify for PACE based on the equity in their property, not their income. By expanding the base of financeable projects and making energy savings possible for millions of homeowners and small businesses, PACE brings new private investment into communities that need it, creates jobs for local contractors, and revitalizes neighborhoods by bringing new life to aging buildings.
And it’s set for rapid growth in 2017.
The HERO Program, which has completed upgrades to 83,000 homes in California, recently launched in Kansas City, Missouri. Over the next five years, HERO expects to create 6,000 jobs and have an overall economic impact of $1 billion in Missouri alone. Contractors in the state expect business to pick up, too:
“We’re anticipating the HERO Program to add anywhere from 20 to 30 percent growth in our revenues over the next couple years, and as a small family-owned company, it’s really exciting for us. It’s going to give us an avenue to reach all the customers we’ve had to turn down that can’t get financed and don’t have as much.” — Caleb Arthur, Founder/CEO of Missouri Sun Solar
Outside the Show-Me State, PACENation expects PACE to branch out and begin operating in new areas of Wisconsin, Georgia, Florida, Virginia, Colorado, Michigan, Rhode Island, and other states this year. R-PACE activity will continue to expand in California, Florida, and Missouri, likely completing more than $2 billion in residential financing in 2017 alone.
PACE is uniquely positioned to meet America’s needs in transitioning to a new clean energy economy. The job-creating investments PACE brings to the table — almost entirely funded by private capital — will go toward a torrent of advanced energy technologies, including solar PV, storage, efficient equipment, microgrid equipment including cogeneration (CHP) plants, smart inverters, and EV charging stations. Those are just a few of the examples we’ve already seen.
According to Renew Financial’s founder Cisco DeVries, PACE can and must help America lead this transition:
“I think PACE is a fundamental tool in our effort to change our energy system and our energy economy from a centralized system to a decentralized system… Those costs are going to be paid by PACE in large part, and I think one of the most exciting parts of this is we’re just at the beginning of what PACE is going to do to transform our energy economy.” — Cisco DeVries
Cisco’s right. With over 130,000 projects completed, $3.3 billion funded, and 33,000 jobs created, we’ve started to see what PACE is capable of, and all signs show that 2017 will be PACE’s best year yet.