Ygrene gets residential and commercial PACE

Ygrene Energy Fund just completed a $150 million private securitization for property-assessed clean energy (PACE) bonds with a large insurance provider.

For the first time, a PACE securitization combines both residential and commercial bonds and includes projects in two states, California and Florida. The securitization is expected to fund more than 6,000 projects.

PACE programs allow investments in water- and energy-efficiency retrofits and distributed renewable generation to be paid back through property taxes, which lowers the risk for both lenders and owners and can potentially open up a far larger swath of the energy-efficiency market. 

Ygrene also recently partnered with solar equipment distributor CivicSolar to provide its contractors with access to PACE financing through Ygrene.

Clean Fund

Also in California, Clean Fund announced it has closed $60 million in financing for PACE projects. The funds came from venture investors and an investment manager. Clean Fund focuses on the commercial real estate sector, whereas other large PACE administrators have found a ballooning market in residential.

Renovate America’s HERO program, for example, has funded more than $600 million in residential projects in California in just the past few years. Last month, an additional 32 jurisdictions in California launched the HERO program for water and energy upgrades. 

Residential PACE may have eclipsed commercial PACE funding in recent months, but commercial PACE is more widespread. PACENow estimates the commercial PACE market at about $120 million before the announcement of Clean Fund’s latest fund.

“The funding is strategic in many ways, providing a dynamic and flexible foundation that positions the company to originate hundreds of millions [of dollars] in commercial PACE projects in the coming years,” Greg Saunders, CEO of Clean Fund, said in a statement.

PACE in Minnesota and Utah

PACE is also expanding outside of California, but much more slowly. In Minnesota, clean-energy resource teams from the U.S. Department of Agriculture are helping farmers fund energy efficiency and clean energy, and are also going to explore the possibility of leveraging commercial PACE for farmers and rural businesses.

Utah, one of the 14 states that also offers commercial PACE financing, recently had its first commercial project funded by Celtic Bank. In Colorado, Boulder County last month became the first county in the state to adopt commercial PACE. In Wisconsin, only Milwaukee is currently leveraging commercial PACE, but several other jurisdictions are reportedly coming on board this year.