September 28, 2018
SACRAMENTO, CA – On September 27, 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law SB 465 (Jackson) – legislation that will help Californians better prepare for natural disasters, specifically wildfires. The bill will give communities in high fire zones the ability to use Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) to finance wildfire safety improvements to residential and commercial properties. Through the Wildfire Safety Finance Act, residents in vulnerable areas will now have greater access to low-cost, long-term financing options to make their property more resilient. In addition to SB 465, Governor Brown also signed into law AB 2063 (Aguiar-Curry) and SB 1087 (Roth), two important pieces of legislation that strengthen consumer protections with respect to PACE.
“The deadly wildfires that continue to cause destruction across our state make the passage of Wildfire Safety Finance Act more important than ever. As a resiliency-focused company, Ygrene applauds California’s leaders for their innovative approach to prioritizing fire protection measures through the use of PACE legislation. We are pleased to have an opportunity to implement state policy to address one of the biggest challenges of our time,” said Rocco Fabiano, Ygrene’s President and CEO.
The new legislation is enacted as California’s wildfires have burned an estimated 1 million acres.
The destructive blazes are only becoming more frequent, with 12 of the 15 largest fires in California’s history occurring since 2000. In 2017, wildfires cost California $505 million and were responsible for 43 deaths.
These recent destructive and deadly wildfires highlight the importance of preparedness. The Wildfire Safety Finance Act coincides with September’s National Preparedness Month, recently proclaimed by Governor Brown as an organized effort to ensure that Americans are proactive and equipped with the tools they need to protect themselves and their most valuable assets in the case of future natural disasters. Ygrene is committed to supporting these efforts by adopting policies like SB 465 that improve the resiliency of communities nationwide against major disasters and climate change.
Over the last three years, Ygrene has been leading efforts to make affordable financing for fire resiliency accessible to all Californians. To expand the reach of PACE in California, Ygrene has worked with state and local leaders to pass the most comprehensive consumer protection polices within the home improvement and financing industry. During this effort, Ygrene has implemented, “Know Before You Owe” (KBYO) standardized disclosures, a homeowner’s three-day right to cancel, a confirmed terms phone call for all customers and an ability to pay verification. Ygrene has also tightened its underwriting criteria and welcomed a new statewide regulator under the California Department of Business Oversight.
Recognizing all the environmental- and climate-related challenges California faces, Ygrene is dedicated to developing solutions that address homeowners' needs across the state. Boosting fire resiliency is just one of the ways the company is working to address these challenges. Through its PACE program, Ygrene also grants home and property owners financing for water conservation and seismic retrofits.
Ygrene is a national leader in residential and commercial energy efficiency and resiliency project financing. Founded in 2010, Ygrene’s award-winning, privately funded Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program is revolutionizing the home improvement industry, making it easier for property owners to invest in their futures and a healthier environment. Ygrene is delivering greater choice for home and business owners by providing accessible and affordable financing for energy efficiency, renewables, water conservation, storm protection and seismic upgrades. Recognized as one of the fastest growing asset classes in the country, PACE has proven to be a successful tool for supporting public policy initiatives, all without the use of public tax dollars or credits. To date, Ygrene has provided over $1 billion of private capital to more than 69,000 property owners in over 500 communities, creating thousands of jobs and investing millions into local economies across the U.S. While PACE programs are enabled by state legislation and must be approved by local governments, Ygrene is not a government program. Learn more at ygrene.com.