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Ceci Berman Discusses Florida’s Property Assessed Clean Energy Act

Brannock & Humphries partner Ceci Berman was a featured speaker at the annual credit union roundtable sponsored by Shutts & Bowen, where she presented on the Florida Property Assessed Clean Energy, or “PACE,” financing program.

The idea of the PACE program, which was enacted in 2010 as part of Florida’s emphasis on promoting renewable energy and energy conservation, is to give property owners an incentive to make green improvements, such as installing solar energy systems or wind-resistant shingles.  The program provides financing that requires little to no money up front, with the loan repaid through property tax assessments over time.  There are pros and cons to the PACE program, which has been enacted in many states and has proven controversial in part because of the absence of federal regulation and in part because a PACE loan takes priority over other recorded liens, including preexisting mortgages.  

Ms. Berman handled one of the only cases in the country challenging the superpriority lien status of PACE loans.  That case resulted in a mixed decision from the Florida Supreme Court, including a concurring opinion from one of the Justices that provides a framework for future challenges.  During her presentation, Ms. Berman shared insights she gained from arguing that case and provided an overview of the PACE program.