Renew Financial Backs Nearly $70 Million in PACE-Financed Home Improvement Projects During Inaugural Year of CaliforniaFIRST Program


OAKLAND, Calif. – August 7, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Renew Financial, a leading clean energy finance company, today celebrates a total of $236 million in financing applications submitted resulting in $68 million in energy efficiency projects either funded or under construction during the first year of operation of CaliforniaFIRST, its flagship PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) financing program.

CaliforniaFIRST provides affordable financing for efficiency upgrades — including drought-tolerant landscaping, energy efficiency improvements and solar energy installation — to more than 20 million Californians. Over the past year, Renew Financial has expanded the availability of CaliforniaFIRST to more than 70 percent of California’s population.

“When the CaliforniaFIRST program was launched a year ago, we had only a handful of contractors and we were working primarily in the Bay Area,” said Cisco DeVries, CEO of Renew Financial. “Today, we offer financing to more than 70 percent of Californians through a network of more than 900 trained, participating contractors. Most importantly, we’ve helped thousands of Californiahomeowners dramatically reduce their energy and water use with a simple financing solution for their home upgrades while helping the state meet its ambitious climate action goals.”

More than 300 cities and counties across California have voted to join the CaliforniaFIRST program, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, San Jose and Sacramento. By providing a way for homeowners to reduce energy and water use, the CaliforniaFIRST program helps cities and counties achieve climate action mandates. In its first year, the CaliforniaFIRST program has helped homeowners reduce annual GHG emissions by an estimated 3,163 tons – the equivalent of taking 667 passenger vehicles off the road for a year.

“We are thrilled to partner with the CaliforniaFIRST program in Sacramento County to provide property owners an option for financing energy efficient upgrades, thereby improving their homes and reducing monthly costs,” said Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna.

“CaliforniaFIRST financing makes it possible for homeowners to own efficiency projects without making an upfront payment,” saidJeanine Cotter, CEO of San Francisco-based Luminalt Solar Energy Solutions. “Saving money and energy and increasing the value of their homes is a great benefit for our customers, and the process is quick and easy for contractors and for homeowners.”

Last week, Renew Financial and SolarCity jointly announced a partnership that creates a unique financing option for small and medium-sized businesses that combines low-cost SolarCity-structured financing with PACE through the CaliforniaFIRST program. Under this offering, a small business property owner signs a standard commercial solar lease with SolarCity that would be paid back on the property tax bill as part of the CaliforniaFIRST program. The new partnership makes solar leases available to thousands of small business owners who otherwise were challenged to secure competitive finance options. The program is expected to roll out beyond the California market in the near future.

To see how CaliforniaFIRST has positively impacted homeowners, click here for video testimonials:

About Renew Financial

Renew Financial was founded in 2008 by Cisco DeVries, who originated the idea of PACE and brought together a multidisciplinary team of experts in finance, technology, operations and government policy to innovate the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing model as a service for local governments. The company specializes in affordable financing for renewable energy, energy efficiency and water conservation projects and is developing an array of financing products that will help move America toward a clean energy model.

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