ORLANDO, Fla. — Homeowners in communities across the state of Florida now have access to an innovative form of financing called HERO, which allows them to make residential energy, efficiency, and wind-resistance improvements and pay for the upgrades over time through their property tax bill. Eligible improvements include solar panels; energy-efficient HVAC systems, roofing, and windows; and roof-to-wall connections, storm shutters and other products that can protect against wind damage and meet Florida Building Code requirements.
HERO, which stands for Home Energy Renovation Opportunity, is the nation's largest form of Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing and its launch is expected to bring multiple benefits to Florida communities and to individual homeowners. With the availability of HERO financing, local contractors should see greater demand for home energy and resiliency projects, providing a boost to small businesses. That in turn will create new jobs in the construction and installation sector—jobs that can't be outsourced or automated. For homeowners, the products eligible for PACE financing can lower utility bills or insurance premiums, while making homes safer and more comfortable. HERO is a public-private partnership between participating Florida cities and counties, the Florida Development Finance Corporation (FDFC) and Renovate America.
"Floridians are looking for ways to save energy and protect their homes, but lack access to affordable financing to make the improvements they need to get there. PACE gives Florida homeowners a new option," said FDFC Executive Director Bill Spivey. "We hope PACE will also bring broader benefits to the community, creating jobs, leading to more storm-resilient neighborhoods, and growing a home improvement marketplace that homeowners can trust."
Today's launch covers cities and counties with over 1.3 million housing units. These communities include the cities of Orlando and Winter Park; Hillsborough County; 26 Broward County cities, including Hollywood, Pompano Beach, Deerfield Beach, and Coral Springs; unincorporated areas of Broward County; the cities of Hialeah, North Miami Beach and Miami Springs in Miami-Dade County; and the cities of West Palm Beach, Lake Clarke Shores, Palm Beach Shores, and Golf in Palm Beach County; Leon County; Pasco County; Charlotte County; Fernandina Beach; and Satellite Beach. HERO will launch in more Florida cities and counties later this summer.
Robust Consumer Protections and Lower Interest Rates
HERO financing offers Florida homeowners fixed interest rates ranging from 3.49%-7.99%, the lowest of any PACE provider in Florida. These new, lower interest rates will help make PACE financing affordable for millions of homeowners across the state, especially in cases where their alternatives are high-interest options like credit cards. HERO also comes with the highest level of consumer protection in the PACE industry, including safeguards like live, recorded telephone calls to confirm financing terms with homeowners and a guarantee that contractors don't get paid until homeowners certify that a project is done to their satisfaction. HERO also uses a data-driven contractor quality rating system that tracks customer satisfaction and removes contractors that don't maintain good ratings.
"With HERO, communities across Florida are giving homeowners access to the lowest interest rates and strongest protections in the PACE industry today," said Ari Matusiak, executive vice president of market development and external affairs at Renovate America. "Floridians not only have a new way to go solar, protect their families from storms, or replace a broken HVAC in the middle of the summer, they are also getting a public-private partnership that is helping to improve the entire home improvement industry."
The availability of HERO, like all PACE financing options in Florida, is made possible by local governments voting to adopt a resolution or ordinance to allow HERO to operate in their communities.
HERO funds up to 100 percent of the home improvement, while the term of the financing is based on the useful life of the product, up to 25 years, spreading out the cost over time. The improvements eligible for PACE financing can also improve the value of a home. A recent study showed homes with PACE assessments recovered 100 percent or more of the investment at the time of resale.
Homeowners interested in applying for HERO financing or who wish to learn more should visit https://www.renovateamerica.com. Contractors interested in offering HERO financing can register at https://register.renovateamerica.com/.