What are the benefits of the Figtree PACE Program and why should my city or county join?

There are numerous community benefits that can be realized through energy efficiency property improvements financed through the Figtree PACE Program, as detailed below. Of note, there is no cost to implement Figtree PACE but there are substantial costs for not adopting this program: fewer clean energy improvements funded; fewer jobs created; no hedge against rising utility bills; fewer options for property owners to afford improvements to wasteful, outmoded building stock; and, ultimately, a less sustainable future for your community.

  • Stimulates your local economy. $4M invested in energy retrofits can create $10M in gross economic output and $1M in combined federal, state and local tax revenues.
  • Creates local jobs. $4M invested in energy retrofits can create 60 jobs in your community.
  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Figtree PACE enables GHG-reducing building improvements and supports the efforts identified in your Climate Action Plan.
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How often can Figtree PACE finance projects?

The Figtree PACE Program allows financing to take place in as little as every 30-60 days. By having a low minimum threshold for financing, we can aggregate projects in one participating city/county, with projects in other cities/counties. We can go to the market with as little as $500K in total projects to fund. This ensures that property owners get their projects funded with very little wait time.

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The program doesn't cost the city/county anything now; will it cost later?

Figtree PACE was designed to be self-sustaining. Administrative costs are considered in the financings to cover the cost of program implementation. Participating cities and counties will not be asked to pay program set up or maintenance costs now, or later. Even though there is no cost, your city/county will benefit from local contractors put to work, building permit fees, and AB32 goals being fulfilled.

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What's the enabling legislation for the Figtree PACE Program?

The enabling legislation for the Figtree PACE Program is Assembly Bill 811 ("AB 811") and Assembly Bill 474 ("AB 474") adopted by the California Legislature and signed by the Governor in 2008 and 2009 respectively.

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What's the financial and legal risk to my city/county?

As property owner participation is completely voluntary and all projects are funded through the California Enterprise Development Authority (CEDA), participating municipalities bear no obligation to repay bonds issued in connection with Figtree PACE. The City/County does not pledge any money or its’ credit for the financing. In addition, CEDA has retained Figtree Financing to manage and administer the Program. The City/County will not be required to allocate any manpower or resources to support it.

In addition, for the benefit of each city/county, Figtree provides each city/county with indemnification through the three-party participation agreement with CEDA.

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Which law firm represents the Figtree PACE Program?

Lewis, Brisbois, Bisgaard and Smith LLP ("LBBS") represents the Figtree PACE Program. LBBS is a national law firm with more than 800 attorneys in offices located in Atlanta, Beaumont, Charleston (WV), Chicago, Dallas, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, La Quinta, Lafayette, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Madison County (IL), Newark, New Orleans, New York, Orange County, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Tampa, Temecula and Tucson. In 2010, the firm was ranked the 40th largest law firm in the nation by the National Law Journal, and the third largest law firm in the State of California by California Lawyer. In 2011 the firm was also ranked #3 in the nation for its diversity by Multicultural Law Magazine and #5 in the nation by American Lawyer Media in its Diversity Scorecard. LBBS is ranked #1 in the State of California for diversity in the recent survey published by California Lawyer Magazine. The firm has consistently ranked in the top 50 of these diversity surveys since 2005.

LBBS represents CEDA both in filing the judicial validation and as bond and disclosure counsel. As such, LBBS examines the documents and transactions, gives opinions regarding the authority for bond issuance to finance Figtree PACE Program improvements, and confirms that such bonds are valid and binding obligations of CEDA which are enforceable with their terms in California.

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Has the Figtree PACE Program been judicially validated?

A number of judicial validations have confirmed that AB 811 assessments are valid voluntary assessments not subject to the requirements or processes of Proposition 218 or other constitutional provisions.

CEDA authorized and filed a statewide judicial validation complaint for its Commercial PACE Program on September 13, 2012 in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Sacramento. The period for response ended in December, 2012 without comment. CEDA has requested the Court to issue a default judgment for its validation action which shall be forthcoming soon.

CEDA authorized and filed a statewide judicial validation complaint for its Residential PACE Program on October 25, 2012 in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Sacramento. The Court issued the Notice for Publications on January 28, 2013 which CEDA has complied with. CEDA expects to complete the action by May 15, 2013.

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What is the California Enterprise Development Authority (CEDA) and why must we join?

The California Enterprise Development Authority (CEDA) is a joint powers authority with a current membership of 40 cities and 21 counties. CEDA is the issuing agency that will form the assessment districts for the Figtree PACE program. Municipal agencies that pass a resolution(s) to be part of the assessment district make it possible for property owners to apply for Figtree PACE financing. CEDA acts as the issuer of the municipal bonds which finance Figtree PACE projects. There is no cost to join CEDA.

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Who forms the assessment district?

The California Enterprise Development Authority (CEDA) will form the assessment district as well as issue the bonds. Your city/county will not be responsible for forming the assessment district or any of the related costs in implementing the Figtree PACE Program.

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Who will implement the Figtree PACE Program and how will property owners know about it?

Figtree will be responsible for full implementation of the Program including marketing the Program to property owners who may be eligible. Figtree takes a comprehensive and turnkey approach that we apply to all the communities we serve. This includes:

  • Awareness campaigns with trade organizations
  • Direct Mail
  • Press Releases and Media Relations
  • Seminars, workshops and trade shows
  • Market and project-level analysis

We also work together with City/County personnel to enhance any efforts already underway to promote clean energy and sustainability.

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What if our city or county already has a PACE Program? Can we also adopt Figtree PACE?

If your city/county already has a PACE Program through another provider, you can still adopt the Figtree PACE Program. Figtree PACE does not require any type of exclusive arrangement meaning you can have Figtree PACE and any other PACE Program now or in the future. Competition makes all PACE Programs better and provides property owners more choices. Not all PACE Programs are created equal. Click the following link for some important differences: View PACE Comparison Chart.

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How is the Figtree PACE Program different from other PACE programs?

Not all PACE programs are created equal. Figtree PACE is a full service, free market and flexible program.

  • Full Service: Figtree works closely with the property owner from the moment an application is submitted until the project is successfully completed and funded. Figtree arranges the financing and obtains mortgage lender consent for each participating property owner.
  • Free Market: Figtree funds projects through various sources to provide the best available rate and terms to participating property owners.
  • Flexible: Figtree offers financing plans that can be tailored to a property owner's specific needs.

See our PACE Comparison Chart for important features that make Figtree PACE an effective financing opportunity.

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Will PACE raise taxes for residents of our city or county?

Taxes will not be raised on your residents. Only the property owners that voluntarily apply for financing will be assessed. Although PACE assessments serve a public purpose, only the property owners that receive financing will be required to repay through property tax assessments. However, everyone in the community will also benefit from reduced GHG levels and spurring the local economy.

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As an assessment program, what public purpose is served by PACE?

PACE promotes energy independence, creates jobs, avoids costly new power plants and transmission lines, and contributes to improving air and water quality. The more individuals that participate, the greater the public benefits.

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What is the extent of my city or county's involvement in program administration?

Figtree PACE was designed to require no city/county staff time for ongoing administration. Figtree and its strategic partners will manage all program components from development through ongoing management of the bonds issued in connection with Figtree PACE. Some cities and counties take an active role in promoting Figtree PACE.

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Why is PACE better than other methods of energy upgrade financing?

PACE simplifies financing requirements for property owners and attracts private capital through its unique lien priority. Investment security and project volume has been the biggest hurdle to energy-efficiency financing. With energy rates and environmental impact penalties increasing, more property owners than ever need energy & water upgrades. From a property owner’s perspective, PACE Financing provides longer term financing (5-20 years) and does not require a property owner to provide a personal guarantee to qualify. A property owner’s financing amount is based on property value. The PACE financing structure gives practically all property owners access to financing, gives investors confidence, and attracts adequate capital to meet the growing demand for energy efficiency improvements. In contrast, publically funded programs can be effective, but funds are typically limited and often highly restricted.

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What projects are eligible for financing through Figtree PACE?

A wide and growing range of energy-efficiency, water-efficiency, and renewable energy improvements are all eligible for Figtree PACE financing. Eligible efficiency projects include building weatherization, upgrading heating and air-conditioning systems, high-efficiency lighting upgrades, and much more. Water efficiency upgrades such as installing low-flow plumbing fixtures and efficient pool pumps are also great ways to save. Figtree PACE makes renewable energy generators such as solar photovoltaic systems and fuel cells more accessible for property owners. For a detailed list of eligible improvements, please visit the property owner pages on www.figtreefinancing.com.

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Can participating property owners use any contractor?

Yes, provided the contractor has applied and registered as a Figtree Independent Contractor. Contractors may register any time by submitting the application form available on the Figtree website under the section "Partner with Figtree" or by visiting www.figtreefinancing.com/contractors.

Property owners may access a list of current Independent Contractors at any time by visiting www.figtreefinancing.com

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What is "lender consent" and why does it matter?

Most mortgage contracts contain default or acceleration provisions that prevent the property owner from voluntarily placing a lien in a higher priority position than their current mortgage lien. This is often referred to as a Due on Encumbrance clause. Since a PACE lien will be treated as pari passu with other property taxes and therefore take priority over existing mortgages, the mortgage lender must provide a written acknowledgement that the property owner will not be in default by participating in the PACE Program. Figtree Financing engages the mortgage lender directly and obtains this written acknowledgement on behalf of the property owner. This process is referred to as the Lender Consent process. By obtaining lender consent, all parties involved in the transaction are protected, especially the property owners. Figtree has been successful in obtaining lender consent from national, regional and local mortgage lenders.

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Why do mortgage lenders consent to Figtree PACE financing?

Figtree has been successful in obtaining consent from mortgage lenders because of the mortgage protections designed by the Figtree PACE Program. By providing PACE financing in a fiscally responsible manner, all parties involved benefit. Property owners must be current on their mortgage(s) and property taxes. There must be equity in the property and the maximum PACE financing amount is 10% of the total property value (20% under certain circumstances).

In the event of foreclosure, as with any outstanding property tax liens, only the amount of the assessment that is due or in default would need to be paid at the time of the foreclosure. The remainder of the assessment remains a lien on the property, assumed by the purchaser. The mortgage lender consents only to delinquent assessments (if any), taking priority over the existing lien.

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