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Posted on: May 15, 2018

City Council Rescinds PACE Program

Clearlake, CA – May 15th, 2018

On May 10th, the Clearlake City Council voted unanimously to rescind the PACE Program previously authorized by the City. PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) programs allow an owner to finance energy efficiency and water conservation improvements to their property. The cost of installation is paid over time by the owner as a property tax assessment lien. These improvements can range from a high efficiency furnace to solar panels. The City authorized two providers to offer the program within the City limits in 2015.

The City recently discovered that program participation has been very low, with only one property owner having completed improvements under PACE. As the property owner discovered, one of the limitations to PACE is that a property cannot be sold or refinanced with the PACE lien in place. Further complicating the program implementation, the program administrators do not currently have required agreements with the County Auditor-Controller to place the liens on the property tax roll. This requires the PACE administrators to invoice property owners independently. The way PACE is structured, the City does not have oversight authority on the program, and participation can result in high financing costs for owners. Based on both the local issues and the overall program complications, after careful deliberation, the Council elected to rescind the authorized PACE programs.

While only one property owner has completed improvements under the program, there are seven other property owners that have received financing approvals from a PACE provider, and are under construction. The Council authorized those owners to continue with their approved projects, but no additional project applications will be accepted or approved by the PACE providers. "While we value and encourage property owners to achieve energy efficiency and water conservation measures where possible, the current complications with PACE place Clearlake residents at risk of paying too much for these improvements. We encourage property owners to fully research their financing options when installing these types of upgrades," stated City Manager Greg Folsom.

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