HB&C recently attended the national PACENation conference in Denver, the first of its kind. The conference was highly relevant to Harcourt Brown & Carey because have been involved in drafting legislation and designing PACE programs for some time, most notably having worked with MASS DOER to draft legislation (currently held up in political process), and with the Colorado Energy Office to both draft legislation and provide consulting on program structure and design. We were pleased to know that the first annual PACENation conference would be held in the backyard of two of our team, Jeremy Epstein and Matthew Brown. Here are our overall impressions:
- Lots of Investors!: It seemed the vast majority of PACENation attendees were investors who are either currently funding PACE programs and projects, or are interested in building up their level of investment in PACE projects. Everyone from very small, PACE-only investors to large national banks such as Bank of America
- Lots of Companies= lots of jobs: The PACE industry is clearly a job creator. Aside from investors, we saw and met with folks from various points of the PACE supply chain including municipal advisors, municipal entity representatives, PACE administrators and clean energy contractors .
- Great Variation between PACE Programs: Given that PACE is a relatively nascent investment vehicle, and must be enabled regionally/locally- we saw great variation between investment models. Some programs worked with a single investor, others were open market for all qualified investors, some, like Colorado’s C-PACE program allow cities or counties to opt into a statewide district under a single administrator, while others, like Texas’ PACE-In-A-Box required participating municipalities to more or less create their own PACE program.
- Residential PACE is going gangbusters in California: Multiple successful residential PACE programs are producing billions in investment in residential clean energy upgrades, although residential PACE doesn’t seem to have much traction outside of CA, there were rumblings that it is being considered here in Colorado.
- The Colorado program has a ton of interest, but: Needs some legislative fixes due to unforeseen circumstances. The hope is that those will be fixed in the short-term, as there is currently a great deal of interest and “pipeline projects” ready to go once the legislative issues have been addressed.
Overall it was a fantastic conference, with Governor Hickenlooper present as a keynote speaker. We look forward to attending next year.
Have questions or want to discuss development of a PACE program in your state, city or county? Get in touch!