HERO Launches in Leon County: A New Financing Option for Energy and Hurricane Resiliency Home Improvements
Homeowners can use innovative HERO financing to reduce energy bills and stay safe through upgrading roofing, windows and doors, HVAC, solar, and more
TALLAHASSEE, Fla., August 8 – Leon County homeowners now have access to an innovative form of financing called HERO, which allows them to make residential energy, efficiency, and wind-resistance improvements and pay for the upgrades over time through their property tax bill. Eligible improvements include solar panels; energy-efficient HVAC systems, roofing, and windows; and roof-to-wall connections, storm shutters and other products that can protect against wind damage and meet Florida Building Code requirements.
HERO, which stands for Home Energy Renovation Opportunity, is the nation’s largest form of Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing and its launch in Leon County is expected to bring multiple benefits to the community and to individual homeowners. With the availability of HERO financing, local contractors should see greater demand for home energy and resiliency projects, providing a boost to small businesses. That in turn will create new jobs in the construction and installation sector—jobs that can’t be outsourced or automated. For homeowners, the products eligible for PACE financing can lower utility bills or insurance premiums, while making homes safer and more comfortable. HERO is a public-private partnership between participating Florida cities and counties, the Florida Development Finance Corporation (FDFC) and Renovate America.
“With the launch of Leon County’s first PACE financing option, local homeowners will have a new way to boost the energy efficiency, sustainability and storm resiliency of their homes,” said Leon County Commission Chairman John E. Dailey. “PACE financing will also create clean energy job opportunities and, as a public-private partnership, do so at no cost to public budgets.”
Leon County was the first county in Florida to approve giving residents access to the HERO financing. Offering PACE financing to homeowners is one more way Leon County is demonstrating its ongoing commitment to protecting the community’s natural resources through innovative methods. With this partnership, Leon County is empowering homeowners, engaging communities and boosting the local economy.
Robust Consumer Protections and Lower Interest Rates
HERO financing offers Florida homeowners fixed interest rates ranging from 3.49%-7.99%, the lowest of any PACE provider in Florida. These new, lower interest rates will help make PACE financing affordable for millions of homeowners across the state, especially in cases where their alternatives are high-interest options like credit cards. HERO also comes with the highest level of consumer protection in the PACE industry, including safeguards like live, recorded telephone calls to confirm financing terms with homeowners and a guarantee that contractors don’t get paid until homeowners certify that a project is done to their satisfaction. HERO also uses a data-driven contractor quality rating system that tracks customer satisfaction and removes contractors that don’t maintain good ratings.
“With HERO, communities across Florida are giving homeowners access to the lowest interest rates and strongest protections in the PACE industry today,” said Ari Matusiak, Executive Vice President of Market Development and External Affairs at Renovate America. “Floridians not only have a new way to go solar, protect their families from storms, or replace a broken HVAC in the middle of the summer, they are also getting a public-private partnership that is helping to improve the entire home improvement industry.”
The availability of HERO, like all PACE financing options in Florida, is made possible by local governments voting to adopt a resolution or ordinance to allow HERO to operate in their communities. HERO funds up to 100% of the home improvement, while the term of the financing is based on the useful life of the product, up to 25 years, spreading out the cost over time. The improvements eligible for PACE financing can also improve the value of a home. A recent study showed homes with PACE assessments recovered 100% or more of the investment at the time of resale.
“Floridians are looking for ways to save energy and protect their homes, but lack access to affordable financing to make the improvements they need to get there. PACE gives Florida homeowners a new option” said Bill Spivey, Executive Director of the Florida Development Finance Corporation. “We hope PACE will also bring broader benefits to the community, creating jobs, leading to more storm-resilient neighborhoods, and growing a home improvement marketplace that homeowners can trust.”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/. And for additional info on PACE in Leon County, visit www.LeonCountyFL.gov/PACE.
About Renovate America
Renovate America offers a tech-enabled financing platform for home improvement and commercial retrofits that empowers communities to modernize and make their housing stock more efficient, while giving small businesses the tools they need to grow. In addition to financing home improvements through an unsecured lending product, Benji, Renovate America offers communities HERO financing. HERO is the leading residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program in the U.S. and has been used by over 100,000 homes to make energy and efficiency improvements. It is estimated that HERO is on track to save billions of dollars in energy and water bills, and has created over 20,000 local trade jobs that cannot be offshored or automated. Renovate America has built the world’s largest green bond platform, with a volume of originations that enables securitization of HERO PACE bonds multiple times a year, attracting international investment to meet U.S. clean-energy objectives.
About the Florida Development Finance Corporation
The FDFC is a special development finance authority created by State Legislation under Chapter 288, Part X of the Florida Statues and formed as a 501(c)(4) not-for-profit corporation. Although not a State Agency, the FDFC is a state-wide conduit issuer that provides access to capital for project finance. Over the past 20 years, the FDFC has assisted over 90 Florida-based businesses to finance over $1.2 billion in tax-exempt & taxable bonds for qualified projects and borrowers.
Link to original article