U.S. Department of Energy Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Specify Contractor Requirements for Property-Assessed Clean Energy Financing Program

The twelfth step in the process to launch a commercial property-assessed clean energy (PACE) financing program involves specifying the requirements for energy auditors and contractors to participate in the program.

The commercial building energy audit market is fragmented, with no universally accepted standards for auditors. As a result, a commercial PACE program cannot point to a single accreditation that auditors be required to have. In the absence of a single accreditation, PACE programs best serve their participants by providing them with a list of recommended licenses/credentials to seek in a contractor’s team, along with questions to ask about their experience and what they will deliver to the client (the property owner seeking clean energy improvements). A sample list is provided in Finding a Qualified Energy Auditor.

Minimum requirements for energy audit and energy service contractors seeking to participate in the program and be included in the list of eligible contractors should include:

  • Hold licenses for the type of work they are doing, if any are required
  • Get permits for any work that they do that requires a permit
  • Attend a contractor information session where they learn specifics about the PACE program
  • Sign a program terms and code of ethics agreement
  • Have proven experience and references.

If a contractor does not adhere to the program’s terms and conditions for participation or fails to maintain passing scores on quality assurance inspections, that contractor should be delisted and ineligible to perform work for current and future PACE program applicants.

Aside from providing a list of contractors that meet the general requirements for program participation, PACE programs may wish to avoid “endorsing” specific contractors because doing so could increase the program’s (and, therefore, the local government’s) legal liability if a participant has a problem with those contractors. To maintain good relationships with all contractors and build trust with the public, a commercial PACE program should remain neutral on service providers and, instead, set a reasonably high qualifications bar and work to foster a fair, competitive marketplace.