We are the leaders in PACE program development and execution in Canada. We can provide turn-key third-party administration of PACE programming including program design, policy, marketing, administration, QA/QC, measurement and validation, financing and billing and collection.
What SwitchPACE offers
We can help determine your state of readiness to adopt PACE programming in your municipality.
Our team of experts can guide you through an environment scan to determine:
- A baseline assessment of your community’s housing stock and energy upgrade potential – this will help you determine the extent of local benefits to be realized from energy upgrades
- How financing opportunities can help homeowners overcome what may seem like daunting barriers to renewable energy upgrades
- The feasibility of establishing PACE-enabling legislation, or another innovative financing instruments, in a given jurisdiction
- Realistic shared goals for both municipal and external stakeholders
Our team has extensive experience helping municipalities gain funding support to launch your PACE initiative. After an initial scoping discussion, we can outline the Federal and Provincial opportunities available to fast track a program launch – with the lowest cost and risk.
We are experts in stakeholder relationships and management within government. Understanding the local context and providing you assistance to seamlessly navigate the win-win partnerships is a big part of what we do early in programs. Let our team simplify and streamline this through a collaborative process:
- Assist with generating the metrics and municipality-specific data needed to complete the application
- Guidance on preparing the documents which must be attached to the application
- Positioning your municipality as an excellent candidate to obtain the funding needed to run a successful energy upgrade program
- Writing the application
SwitchPACE CIC is a third-party administrator. This model enables municipalities to offer a PACE program to local homeowners, without the challenges normally associated with hiring and training additional staff. We do the heavy lifting for you, without adding any financial burden to your municipality. We help address human and financial capacity constraints within municipalities – to support you from an end-to-end perspective.
A job title coined by SwitchPACE and unique to our organization, an Energy Concierge is a knowledgeable, customer-focused, service-driven individual who takes care of an interested homeowner from start to finish. No matter how large or small the project, no matter the extent to which SwitchPACE provides financing for the interested party, our Energy Concierges make it their business to assist the homeowner in every way possible.
Skilled communicators, Energy Concierges ensure homeowners understand the language, technicalities and financial arrangements related to an energy upgrade project. Best of all, our Energy Concierges are the first line of contact for any homeowner in your municipality wanting to learn more.
We take it seriously our responsibility to communicate timely, accurate information to your residents. Our Energy Concierges are focused on making it easy for residents and businesses to access the program.
No matter the terminology—customer, ratepayer, resident, homeowner or constituent—to us these are all people. Our concept of customer service is to determine what the homeowner is interested in, ask meaningful questions, facilitate their decision-making and then, when ready, bring them on board. Our proprietary, secure CRM platform ensures service continuity and a well-documented road map of where each program participant ‘is’ on the path to project completion.
Our Energy Concierges pride themselves on the integrity and quality of the connections they make on your behalf.
In addition to sourcing and vetting contractors (for WCB compliance, up-to-date insurance coverage and registration with Provincial efficiency organizations) we work with local contractors to make it easy for them to participate in your municipality’s energy efficiency program.
Regular virtual and in-person knowledge-sharing sessions inform contractors on how the PACE program works and how they can participate.
Qualified contractor lists are updated and provided to interested homeowners at the appropriate stage of the project plan.
From an employment and business growth perspective, past experience has shown that it is beneficial for all concerned to use qualified local contractors.
An important aspect of the service we provide is ensuring homeowners fully understand how to take advantage of current rebate offers. These rebates are provided from different levels of government or government agencies and are frequently updated with respect to eligibility requirements.
It’s our business to stay on top of the rebates, incentives and grants on offer. Which one is best for solar projects? Is it possible for homeowners to ‘double dip’ and receive rebates from different levels of government for the same project? How does a homeowner apply? Our Energy Concierges untangle the details and assist homeowners through the application process.
A Home Energy Assessment (HEA) is frequently required for a property owner to be eligible for a rebate, the audit also provides useful information for multiple stakeholders. Essentially the audit is an assessment of the efficiency of the home itself. It helps identify areas where energy-efficient improvements can be made—for example, by sealing air leaks, adding insulation or installing solar panels.
On behalf of homeowners, we make the HEA process easy. We can arrange for the HEA to be fast tracked with program partners.
We also ensure that a follow-up assessment is completed. In this way, the impact of the home improvement project on greenhouse gas reductions, energy costs, and the environment can be tracked and reported.
Regular reporting on program financial, environmental and marketing KPI’s is submitted to your municipality and key stakeholders. We have built a robust CRM and data platform to provide real time, high quality feedback. These detailed summaries provide you the confidence the programming is getting results.
Obtaining kick-start grant funding from partners is just part of the picture. These funds will be sufficient to ensure a successful launch of your energy upgrade program, however it is important to look further down the road to ensure sustainable funding for the long term. We are experts in structuring PACE financing – both public and private.
We can help you work with program partners such as the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Community Efficiency Financing Program or the Canadian Infrastructure Bank. SwitchPACE has a demonstrated track record of success in helping municipalities secure favorable public funding terms and agreements.
Funding from Federal sources has enabled numerous municipalities to offer low-interest loans in the service of sustainable home energy upgrades. But this funding will not last forever. We have developed private partnerships with forward-thinking investors who see the enormous potential for PACE programming in Canada. It’s clear that private/public partnerships are the way forward in this fast-growing sector. Talk with us to better understand how private capital can help scale your local climate ambitions.
Marketing and Communications
In our experience, municipalities are already skilled at community engagement and often have a communications team in place to manage messaging for internal and external stakeholders. We work with your team to support the development of a PACE program/brand—one that informs, motivates and strengthens your municipality’s image.
Our communications team supports the development of your program’s brand, but more often than not municipal governments are skilled at knowing what works best for their constituents.
To support the ongoing need for up-to-date information, our research team keeps tabs on what our stakeholders perceive, believe and act upon. Qualitative and quantitative research methods are used to better understand the energy upgrade market. This data is shared with municipalities to better feed into KPI’s, strategic planning and opportunity identification.
Crafting messages that communicate clearly with the target audience is essential, especially given the technicalities of conducting a home energy upgrade project. Many homeowners feel daunted by the wealth of information, the complex language, the application process(es) and the financial reporting details. We make it our business to help simplify this messaging for your internal use (staff and elected officials), and external use with homeowners and contractors.
The launch of a PACE program in your community is BIG news—something to celebrate! As an example, the launch of Wolfville’s Switch program received an unprecedented uptake of 120 homeowners in the first month. The reach and quality of our joint media campaign, using a combination of in-person presentations, virtual sessions, social media and contractor engagement kept our Energy Concierges exceptionally busy answering inquiries.
Home energy upgrades are good news stories. Let SwitchPACE assist you in telling this story in your community.
Stick-handling the development of an energy upgrade program through the relevant departments of your local administration is simplified when our program designers go to work on your behalf. Our experienced team has supported numerous municipalities in navigating the internal and external pathways to a successful launch.
Subject to Provincial legislation and policies, it is usually the case that Municipal Councils are given the authority to establish Bylaws imposing, fixing and providing methods of enforcing payment of charges for specific homeowner financing arrangements (LIC’s).
In the case of a PACE program, these would include the financing and installation of any of the following on private property, with the consent of the property owner: (a) energy-efficiency equipment; (b) renewable energy equipment.
SwitchPACE has assisted numerous Municipalities with the elements of a draft Bylaw to speed the process through Council.
Once our partner Municipalities receive funding commitments, our involvement extends to the preparation and execution of the legal and governance documents. These documents and processes spell out the roles and responsibilities of your Municipality, SwitchPACE CIC, homeowners, contractors and Provincial energy organizations. Effective and transparent governance is central to this framework. The management of public funds requires the careful oversight we foster.
We have built a robust eco-system of program partners, including the largest law firm in Atlantic Canada, Stewart McKelvey. These partners will give you the necessary confidence and due diligence needed for complex PACE programming.
The Service Agreement is a detailed legal document spelling out the responsibilities of your Municipality and those of SwitchPACE CIC. Having prepared and executed a number of these documents, we tailor the agreement to suit the structure, needs, policies and budgets of your Municipality. Obtaining Council approval for this agreement is a key step in taking on a PACE program— our aim is to make the process as wrinkle-free as possible.
Municipalities differ in many ways, including their history, growth rates, demographic profile, citizen engagement and building codes to name a few. Policies related to the adoption of a PACE program will need to take these factors into account covering such aspects as: property location within municipal boundaries, property ownership and type (number of floors), and how programs can address issues of equity and needs of low income residents.
Our service includes helping define and articulate these policies.
An important part of the work we do is relationship-building with energy efficiency agencies—to both draw from and support their important efforts. As an example, we work closely with Efficiency Nova Scotia, Efficiency PEI, Solar Nova Scotia and other groups to find ways to build ‘energy literacy’ and better assist homeowners in their decision to adopt an efficiency project. We are intimately familiar with the current Federal and Provincial programs available to help support your residents and businesses.
We align program goals and designs carefully with these agencies. This alignment makes it easy for municipalities and homeowners to understand and take advantage of the numerous programs these agencies offer.
Key beneficiaries of having a PACE Program in your Municipality are the local contractors who quote on and execute the energy-saving projects. This is good for the local economy, job creation and business building. We regularly hold open information sessions, at the local level, with those working in the energy sector to keep interested parties abreast of the latest developments.
Our programs are designed to support and work closely with the energy efficiency and renewable energy industries and local contractors.
We can act as your back-office finance team. We provide financial services and software to help manage hundreds of loans in a program portfolio. This back-office support can be invaluable for municipal finance departments that are already stretched thin. We have robust and transparent governance and reporting structures with controls to ensure program compliance and security.
SwitchPACE handles all the basic ‘banking’ functions, taking the burden of this away from your Municipality’s finance department. Our loan servicing includes:
- setting up a dedicate program bank account shared with the municipality, with appropriate controls,
- setting up pre-authorized payments,
- sending monthly statements,
- collecting payments,
- maintaining records of payments and balances,
- remitting funds to capital under-writers (if required)
- remitting payments to contractors (if required)
- follow-up on any delinquencies.
- summary financial reporting to municipalities
- provide a live loan portal for residents
- providing program budget management and reporting supports for year end audits