Wed. Oct 4th, 2023
    Miami-Dade County Commission Considers Severing Relationship with Green Corridor

    The Miami-Dade County Commission is currently considering a resolution that would sever the county’s longstanding relationship with the Green Corridor. The Green Corridor is an interlocal group of nine municipalities that oversees the leading program providing Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) in Florida. PACE financing has helped thousands of homeowners in the state pay for energy-efficient home improvements and storm-hardening measures, resulting in reduced energy and insurance costs.

    The resolution comes in response to a small number of consumer complaints and temporary issues caused by rapid interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve. Despite these challenges, the Green Corridor board believes that the County Commission’s attention is an opportunity to enhance cooperation with their partners in the county and strengthen protections for consumers seeking PACE financing.

    The Green Corridor contracts with Ygrene, a leading provider of PACE financing, to offer homeowners the opportunity to finance improvements that reduce storm insurance premiums and enhance energy efficiency. PACE financing is often more affordable and simpler to obtain than traditional home equity loans, making it accessible to many homeowners who may not qualify for other forms of financing.

    However, the PACE market in Florida has faced growing pains, including reputation damage caused by bad contractors and consumer frustration with complicated financing documents. Additionally, Ygrene experienced temporary funding issues when its short-term financier pulled out due to the Federal Reserve’s rapid interest rate hikes. However, Ygrene worked diligently to resolve these challenges and pay off all remaining debts.

    The Green Corridor and Ygrene have made significant efforts to address these challenges, including terminating bad contractors, improving consumer education, and developing more reliable financing mechanisms. The Green Corridor board is also working to incorporate consumer protection language into the statewide PACE agreement text.

    The Green Corridor needs the cooperation of Miami-Dade County to improve consumer education and protections. Working together, they can draft improved protections that apply to all PACE providers, ensuring residents are better informed and protected when seeking PACE financing. Some proposed enhancements include requiring consumers to demonstrate their understanding of the financial terms before signing a contract, requiring contractors to obtain construction permits before full payment, and verifying that PACE providers have sufficient funding to cover all construction contracts and administrative costs.

    The resolution before the County Commission that would sever relations with the Green Corridor is unnecessary, as the past problems have already been resolved. Instead, strengthening ties and formalizing cooperation would enable the Green Corridor to combine its institutional knowledge with the county’s economic clout. This partnership would ensure that homeowners considering PACE financing have a clear understanding of the terms and are better protected from issues with contractors and the financial markets.

    Overall, the Green Corridor and Miami-Dade County have an opportunity to work together to improve consumer protections and educate homeowners about the benefits and terms of PACE financing. It is crucial that they continue collaborating to ensure that residents in the county can make informed decisions about energy-efficient home improvements and storm-hardening measures.

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