With the rapid rise in PACE programs, an innovative software tool is joining together financing and consumers to cut down on transaction costs and time between consultation and installation.
EnACT, a two-year-old company, has developed a unique software platform that focuses on energy efficiency and solar energy. The goal of this software is to significantly reduce transaction costs for residential and commercial solar projects.
EnACT Systems Cofounder and CEO Deep Chakraborty describes the software as a “complete service to delivery cycle.” He explains that it helps to reduce transaction costs and time by creating a platform that solar developers can use to prepare quotes, proposals, and financing.
EnACT has now partnered with California First, which Chakraborty reports “streamlines the process from start to finish.” He continues, “Contractors can now have a five-minute solar proposal equally fast whether they use PACE or not.”
With the maximum value of PACE financing being related to property value and taxes, the information-gathering process can be lengthy and complicated. enACT works with PACE, and the software is integrated with CaliforniaFIRST’s origination platform. Chakraborty explains how this simplifies the process for the contractor. “As soon as an address is entered into the enACT Program for creating a solar proposal, all the background checks are completed and the maximum value is calculated immediately. This cuts through a lot of steps.” The same is true for checking in with financing companies for fees. “Back-end calculations are now all automated, which further cuts down on the time.”
This easy-to-use tool allows companies to develop a proposal in four minutes or less. “Every solar product is loaded into the software. Utility and rate plans can be accessed. Energy data can be found through either through Green Button energy data or the consumer’s report. Savings and financing can be calculated immediately. enACT has 68 different financing options available for immediate comparisons. The software creates charts and graphs, calculates break-even points, and can be tweaked immediately to find the best plans for the consumer. Everything is accessible.”
Scott Strait, Chief Information Officer at Renewable Funding LLC, program administrator for the CaliforniaFIRST PACE program, states, “While we have greatly simplified the PACE financing process, enACT’s platform takes it to the next level by automating the solar financing quotes and related workflow documents for contractors. All proposal and deal documents for underwriting and installation are now on one system, making it easy for contractor sales teams to scale their offering.”
The program aims to take care of all issues to make things go smoothly from the beginning. Chakraborty calls the program a “whole cycle approach from start to finish.” He envisions a future where the program will include all aspects of PACE for efficiency upgrades, creating a “single system to deliver better results.” There is definitely more to come from enACT Systems.
This innovative and potentially game-changing program comes at a time when PACE is gaining accolades. PACE’s progress was recognized by the Clinton Global Initiative last week. CGI helped to introduce the program in 2009, and spent some of its tenth anniversary celebration cataloging the advances PACE has made in the last five years. For example, since its introduction in Berkeley in 2008, PACE has grown to be available to over 80% of the U.S. population in more than 800 municipalities nationwide.
Bracken Hendricks, CEO of Urban Ingenuity (the Administrator for the Washington, DC PACE commercial program) and Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, sums it up quite nicely. “Five years ago at the Clinton Global Initiative, Johnson Controls, PACENow, and the Center for American Progress committed to dramatically accelerate the energy retrofit of our nation’s built environment by making low cost PACE financing available for both commercial and residential projects. Today, the progress is apparent, as the PACE movement, still in its early stages, has grown to a nearly half a billion dollar industry.”