Floridians’ access to residential solar power systems, as well as energy efficiency and wind resistance renovations, continued to expand with the July launch of Renovate America’s HERO financing option in numerous communities across Florida. Renovate America is the country’s largest Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) provider and has provided HERO financing for more than 100,000 homeowners across the country. It’s entry into Florida—and predicted popularity among solar contractors (sign up here!)—marks another turning point for PACE and access to residential solar in the state.
PACE financing was created to break down a few hurdles that often prevent homeowners from going solar or investing in other energy-saving home improvements. First, PACE financing is attached to a property, not the homeowner, and is paid back via an additional and voluntary assessment on the property tax bill. PACE is also restricted to improvements outlined by Florida’s PACE law, which allows for solar energy systems (panels and inverters); solar thermal systems like solar water heaters and pool heaters; energy storage systems; electric vehicle charging systems; and a handful of other alternative energy products like small wind turbines. Third, PACE financing is approved by providers using a unique set of underwriting, marketing and consumer protection standards, including available equity, on-time mortgage and tax payments, point-of-sale financing, live phone calls to confirm financing terms, contractor registration and more.
The growth of PACE financing—and the Florida expansion of the country’s largest PACE provider—coincides with the implementation of Amendment 4, which voters overwhelmingly approved in 2016. PACE financing can help make going solar even more attractive to Florida homeowners, while also building confidence in the consumer protection framework that exists for solar installers and contractors. Renovate America’s HERO financing is particularly strong on both affordability and safeguards.
Renovate America employs a promotional rate model that allows solar contractors to choose from one of four interest rate sets, with end-consumer rates ranging from 3.49% to 7.99%–setting a new standard for PACE financing. Renovate America also has one of the strongest (if not the strongest) set of consumer protections in the PACE industry. Renovate America’s stringent requirements for its network of contractors fit well with the high licensure and certification standards for FLaSEIA members. And HERO financing comes with the highest level of consumer safeguards, including live confirm-terms calls to all homeowners, additional safeguards for seniors, and dispute resolution if needed.
These standards and requirements provide homeowners who choose HERO financing with confidence in their contractor. They know their contractor will provide them with the quality, safety and performance they expect – the values exemplified by FLaSEIA professional members. Renovate America also provides solar contractors access to Benji, which is paperless, unsecured home-improvement financing that offers expanded home improvement options.
Fewer than one percent of Floridians currently own renewable energy systems, according to a new report by the Florida Public Service Commission. But this number is growing exponentially and the demand from homeowners is vibrant. PACE financing is a valuable tool for contractors to use to meet this demand, boosting Florida homeowners’ access to solar energy systems, as well as access to energy efficiency and wind resistance upgrades. With its exemplary consumer safeguards and stringent contractor vetting process, Renovate America’s HERO is the PACE industry gold standard and a natural partner for FLaSEIA-member contractors.
Homeowners interested in applying for HERO financing or who wish to learn more should visit https://www.renovateamerica.com. Contractors interested in offering HERO financing can register at https://register.renovateamerica.com/.