Homeowners in Pacifica, Belmont, Half Moon Bay, Hillsborough and Portola Valley can now finance 100% of efficiency upgrades and pay over time through their property taxes
SAN MATEO COUNTY, Calif., February 15, 2017 – Starting today, Pacifica, Belmont, Half Moon Bay, Hillsborough and Portola Valley homeowners who want to go solar, replace their AC unit, or install new efficient windows and doors can finance 100% of their efficiency-related repairs and upgrades through the HERO Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program. Recently approved by the City Councils of Pacifica, Belmont, Half Moon Bay, Hillsborough and Portola Valley, HERO financing provides new options for homeowners to make energy- and water-efficiency improvements, and to pay for them over time at a fixed interest rate through an additional line item on their property taxes. HERO financing payments may have tax benefits, and many homeowners see immediate savings on utility bills by investing in efficiency upgrades.
“By giving homeowners in our communities more ways to make these energy efficiency, water conservation and clean energy improvements to their homes, we’re empowering them to combat climate change and potentially lower their utility bills,” said Belmont Mayor Charles Stone. “On top of giving consumers more options, HERO gives a boost to local businesses and that in turn creates good, sustainable jobs.”
Almost all homeowners in San Mateo County will now have access to this innovative financing program, including residents of the city of San Mateo, Atherton, Brisbane, Burlingame, Colma, Daly City, Foster City, Menlo Park, Millbrae, Redwood City, San Bruno, San Carlos, South San Francisco and Woodside, as well as residents of unincorporated areas of the county.
Over the last five years, HERO has helped fund residential efficiency projects in 88,100 households in California, totaling $2.13 billion in financing. By stimulating home renovation activity, the HERO Program increases demand for local contractor services and is estimated to have spurred the creation of 18,100 local California jobs since its launch. Many of these jobs, like those in the construction industry, cannot be outsourced or automated. In total, HERO has already generated a positive economic impact of $3.69 billion in California.
More than a Million Eligible Products to Save Energy and Water
A wide variety of energy-saving and water-conserving products are available through HERO. Some of HERO’s most popular energy products include rooftop solar panels, HVAC systems, energy-saving windows and doors, roofing, and insulation. For cutting down on water use, homeowners commonly use HERO to install high-efficiency toilets and showerheads, drip irrigation systems, rainwater catchment systems, and artificial turf and other drought-tolerant landscaping.
The home improvements financed through HERO to date are projected to save $3.51 billion on energy bills, conserve 13.4 billion kWh of electricity, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 3.6 million tons (the equivalent of taking 761,000 SUVs off the road for a year), and save 7.9 billion gallons of water (the equivalent of 252 million showers).
PACE addresses a problem conventional financing products have not solved. Each year, several million U.S. homes will have systems replaced that affect energy or water consumption. Unfortunately, most homeowners select less-efficient solutions based on the sticker price. Compared to more efficient products that may have a higher sticker price, these less-efficient products end up costing more over time to operate and maintain.
The HERO Program provides crucial new options to homeowners to choose more efficient improvements: PACE finances 100 percent of the home improvement, requiring no upfront cash outlay; the term of the financing is based on the useful life of the product, up to 25 years, lowering the size of monthly payments; and collection is conducted through regular property tax payments. The products installed must meet federal and state efficiency standards, potentially enabling homeowners to lower monthly utility bills.
Stringent Consumer Safeguards
PACE enables local governments to add additional requirements to safeguard consumers not found in other payment options like credit cards or home equity loans. For example, the HERO Program requires contractors to be licensed with the state and in good standing with HERO, and each contractor must agree to not be paid until the homeowner signs off that the job has been successfully completed.
PACE programs like HERO have put in place policies that are raising the bar for how homeowners experience home improvement. For example, HERO was the first residential PACE program to provide written disclosures to its customers modeled after the federal Know-Before-You-Owe mortgage form. A HERO employee calls each customer to ensure they understand the financing terms before they sign their contract. Finally, HERO provides extensive post-funding investigative and dispute resolution support, if necessary.
Homeowners interested in applying for HERO financing should visit https://www.heroprogram.com/ca/bay-area. Contractors interested in offering HERO financing can register at https://register.renovateamerica.com/