Ygrene Energy Fund Addresses Need For Resiliency

Written By: Jen Neville
November 16, 2018

California wildfires

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projects and money Leading project developers and the financial community will gather in New Orleans to kick off their year at Projects & Money. This dynamic event has developed a growing, dedicated following in the finance community to connect, share information about upcoming project opportunities, and hear the best available outlook on the financing landscape and deal-making opportunities.

Ygrene Energy Fund is a provider of residential and commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing for energy efficiency, resiliency, renewables, and water conservation.

"At a time when environmental challenges are on the rise, Ygrene is deeply committed to addressing property owners' needs by building resilient communities in the face of wildfires and other natural disasters," stated Mike Lemyre, Ygrene Senior Vice President for Government Affairs.

Earlier this year, California Governor Jerry Brown had signed SB 465, the Wildfire Safety Finance Act, into law, helping Californians better prepare for natural disasters like the wildfires that have devastated communities in recent years. Through the Wildfire Safety Finance Act, residents in vulnerable areas will have greater access to low-cost, long-term financing options to make their property more resilient. SB 465 gives communities in high fire zones the ability to use PACE to finance wildfire safety improvements for residential and commercial properties. 

Though the bill was scaled back from an earlier effort to rewrite a liability standard that applies to the companies when their equipment is involved in sparking a fire, it nonetheless offers new power to the California Public Utilities Commission to offer concessions when appropriate.

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. recently announced that the White House had also approved California’s request for a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration, to bolster the ongoing emergency response and help residents recover from devastating fires burning in California over the past week.

“We have a real challenge here, threatening our whole way of life,” said Governor Brown alongside the state’s top emergency management officials at the State Operations Center. “It is a time to reflect on where we are and resolve to pull together and do everything we can to help those in need.”

A Presidential Major Disaster Declaration helps people in the impacted counties through eligibility for support including crisis counseling, housing and unemployment assistance and legal services. It also provides public assistance to help state, tribal and local governments with ongoing emergency response and recovery, including the repair and replacement of disaster-damaged facilities and infrastructure, including roads, bridges and utilities. The declaration includes hazard mitigation, which helps state and local governments reduce the risks and impacts of future disasters.

Governor Brown joined leaders of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, CAL FIRE, California Highway Patrol and California National Guard at the State Operations Center in Mather to provide an update on major fires that have been burning in Northern and Southern California claiming lives and causing extensive damage to residences and infrastructure over the past week.

"Boosting fire resiliency is just one of the ways Ygrene is working to help communities address these challenges," Lemyre continued. "An effective tool like this to help everyone be better prepared can only help our communities and our state meet its environmental, economic and natural disaster preparedness goals."

Ygrene offers broad access to low-interest financing for property upgrades, allowing more Californians to take steps to upgrade properties and use fire-resistant materials and designs that previously were cost-prohibitive.

With built-in consumer protections, PACE's long-term financing structure makes energy and resiliency improvements more affordable and accessible than other types of home improvement financing, like costly credit cards and bank loans. The increased availability of PACE financing provides Californians access to better energy efficiency, fire and natural disaster resiliency improvements.

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California Wildfires Financing PACE