California Launches Largest PACE Program

November 27, 2012

Under the auspices of California's largest state-wide joint powers authority, 14 California counties and 126 cities launched on September 18 the nation's largest Property-Assessed Clean Energy Programs (PACE) initiative. PACE provides a financing tool to help commercial property owners reduce their buildings' energy and water use.

The CaliforniaFIRST program allows commercial property owners to use municipal bonds to finance upgrades, including those for energy efficiency and renewable energy. The owners repay the funds through a special assessment on their annual property tax bills. Through a public-private partnership, private capital will be used to supply the upfront funding for the work. This financing mechanism was pioneered by the City of Berkeley, California, for its residential owners in 2008. Since then, commercial PACE programs have been launched in San Francisco, Los Angeles County, and Washington, D.C. See the CaliforniaFIRST news Web page and the Energy Department PACE Web page.