Note: The Federal Housing Financing Agency (FHFA) issued a statement in July 2010 concerning the senior lien status associated with most PACE programs. In response to the FHFA statement, most local PACE programs have been suspended until further clarification is provided.
Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing effectively allows property owners to borrow money to pay for energy improvements. The amount borrowed is typically repaid via a special assessment on the property over a period of years. Rhode Island has authorized local governments to establish such programs, as described below. (Not all local governments in Rhode Island offer PACE financing; contact your local government to find out if it has established a PACE financing program.)
After January 1, 2014, a town or city council may adopt a resolution to designate itself a PACE municipality. Homeowners living in a PACE municipality can enter into a written agreement with the local government to have a PACE assessment lien placed on their property. The lien will be subordinate to all other liens on the property at the time the PACE lien takes effect.
The Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources will contract with an approved financial institution to create a Loan Loss Reserve Fund. In the event that there is a foreclosure on a property with a PACE assessment, the Loan Loss Reserve Fund will cover the past due balance of the PACE assessment. The Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources will also publish a list of eligible types of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that will qualify for PACE financing. The office will also develop informational resources to help residents understand PACE financing, and provide technical assistance to and offer to manage PACE programs on behalf of any PACE municipality.