Frequently Asked Questions

General

  • What does "HERO" stand for?

    HERO is an acronym that stands for Home Energy Renovation Opportunity.

  • What is the HERO Program?

    The HERO Program offers a unique, affordable financing option for energy-efficient upgrades for increased efficiency, comfort and savings. Water-saving upgrades are also available in drought-impacted areas, such as California.

  • How is HERO different from other forms of financing?

    HERO is a PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) program that provides financing for energy-efficient and renewable energy products. In the state of California, HERO provides these same financing options for water-saving and drought-resistant products.

    HERO offers more consumers access to energy-efficient options because HERO is financed as an assessment on your property. The interest on these payments may be tax deductible.* Approval for HERO is primarily based on the equity in your home and your debt payment history, rather than your credit score. HERO finances 100% of the cost to purchase and install eligible products, with fixed rates and flexible terms of 5-25 years, depending on the improvements you choose and the state in which you are located.

    Should you decide to sell your property before your HERO assessment is paid in full, any remaining balance may be able to transfer to a new property owner (please see the “Real Estate Transactions” section below for more details).

    *Property owners should consult their tax advisor regarding potential tax benefits.

  • How is HERO financing paid through my property taxes?

    You will see a line item titled “HERO FINANCING” on your property tax bill. If you make property tax payments through an impound escrow account, your lender will adjust your monthly payment to include the amount due for HERO financing.

  • Who can apply for HERO?

    Any property owner who lives in a city or county where HERO has been approved by the local government can apply for HERO financing. To find out if HERO is available in your community, please check our communities list or call 855-HERO-411 (855-437-6411).

  • Are all contractors qualified to install eligible HERO products?

    No. Only a contractor registered with HERO can install HERO eligible products. Each state has different qualification requirements in order to register for HERO. Contractors can determine applicable eligibility requirements on our website.

    Enter your city or zip code on our Find a Contractor page to find a contractor in your community.

  • What happens if a property is sold?

    Please see the “Real Estate Transactions” section below.

Eligibility

  • What are the eligibility criteria for HERO?

    Specific eligibility requirements for residential properties include, but are not limited to, the following:

    1. Applicant(s) must be the owner(s) of record for the respective Property.
    2. Mortgage-related debt on the Property must not exceed 90% of the value of the Property.
    3. Property owner(s) must be current on their property taxes and there must be no more than one late payment in the past three years.
    4. Property owners must be current on all Property debt of the subject Property at the time of application and cannot have had more than one 30 day mortgage late payment over the previous 12 months.
    5. Property owner(s) must not have any declared bankruptcies within the past seven years, and the Property must not be an asset in any bankruptcy proceeding.
    6. The property must not have any federal or state income tax liens, judgment liens, mechanic’s liens, or similar involuntary liens in excess of $1,000 in most localities.

    Some criteria can vary state to state or city to city. For a full list of your eligibility requirements, give us a call at 855-HERO-411 (437-6411).

  • What products are eligible for HERO?

    There are more than one million energy-efficient, and renewable energy products that qualify for financing through HERO. You can explore our list of eligible products for more information. Water-saving and drought-resistant products are available in some states, such as California. If you wish to install a product that is not on the list, contact us at 855-HERO-411 (855-437-6411) to get an application.

  • If I owe more on my house than its market value, am I still eligible for HERO?

    No. Total mortgage liens on the property cannot exceed 90% of the value of the property.

  • Can a mobile home/manufactured home qualify for HERO?

    Mobile or manufactured homes are eligible if they are permanently attached to the real property and pay real property taxes (not DMV fees). The owner of the mobile home must also be the owner of the underlying land. Since an AVM value is often not available for mobile or manufactured homes, the tax assessed value or recent appraisal value may need to be used for the debt-to-value and eligible product costs calculations.

  • Does a condominium qualify for HERO?

    Condominiums may be eligible, depending on the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&R's) of the complex as well as the physical design of the unit. Condominium owners who apply for financing through HERO may need to obtain written authorization from condominium management stating that the homeowner is allowed to install the proposed eligible products.

  • Can a property placed in a trust qualify for HERO?

    Yes. Trust properties are eligible for HERO as long as adequate documentation of the trust is provided with the application, as well as the applicants' authority under the trust. All trustees must sign all HERO Program documents.

Costs and Rebates

Program Details

  • How do I get financing through HERO?

    HERO Financing is a simple 4-step process:

    1. Apply - Find out how much your home is approved for.
    2. Select - Choose the eligible products and select the contractor for your job.
    3. Sign - Sign your financing documents.
    4. Complete - Finish the installation.
  • Am I required to get an energy audit for my property?

    While a residential or commercial energy/water audit is not required to participate in the HERO Program, it is recommended in certain cases, particularly when you are looking to do whole property improvements for the purpose of maximizing your energy and water-cost savings. An energy audit by a certified auditor may be the best way for you to determine which eligible products are best suited for your property. In addition, the cost of the audit is eligible for financing through HERO, along with the eligible products themselves.

  • Do I need to obtain a building permit?

    If your city or county has building permit requirements, you (and your contractors) are responsible for obtaining all necessary permits and completing inspections, including final inspection sign-off, from the appropriate city or county building department. You should speak with your contractor for further information.

  • Can HERO be used to finance more than one project?

    Yes, property owners can finance multiple projects. However, all projects must be approved in order to make sure they meet efficiency standards.

  • Can I finance eligible products that are already installed?

    No. Products that have already been installed are not eligible for financing through HERO.

  • Who may install products financed through HERO?

    Only a contractor registered with HERO or a property owner who has signed a Self-Install Agreement may install products financed through HERO. Contractors can register on our contractors page.

    Contractors must adhere to all licensing requirements in their state. Contractors located in California must have a valid California State Business License (CSLB) to register.

  • Can property owners install their own eligible products?

    Yes. However, the property owner will not be paid for their own labor and must sign a Self-Install Agreement. If the property owner is also a contractor who has registered with HERO and is installing products on his or her own house, they may be reimbursed for the labor costs of their work crew, but not for their own personal time and labor.

  • How can I view a sample of my HERO Financing Documents in Spanish?
    Under the HERO Program, you have the right to receive a sample copy of the HERO Financing Documents in Spanish. If you would like to view these documents in Spanish, please visit our sample documents page. Then, enter your ZIP code to find the version of our sample financing documents for your area.

Real Estate Transactions

Solar Lease Program

  • Does HERO provide solar leasing or power purchase agreement (PPA)?

    Working with select partners, HERO provides financing for the lease/PPA of eligible solar energy systems. The solar lease/PPA partner finances 100% of the purchase and installation cost. For our solar lease/PPA product, HERO offers up to a 25-year* lease/PPA that is an assessment on your property tax, paid monthly or annually depending on your state of residence.

    *HERO offers flexible terms of up to 25 years, depending on area and product type. The HERO term cannot exceed the length of the solar agreement.

  • How does it work?

    HERO provides a new way for you to lease a solar system to better meet your financial needs. Solar lease financing is paid for via a voluntary property tax assessment. How you receive billing will depend on which state you live in. Property assessments are part of your property tax bill. For further clarification about how property assessments are billed, please contact 855-HERO-411 (437-6411).

    The property owner is offered a guaranteed price per kilowatt hour (lease) or fixed rate per kilowatt hour (PPA) for up to a 25-year term* of the financing and receives all the electricity produced by the solar system. The lease/PPA partner will maintain the system during this period in order to ensure the function and production of the system as defined by the lease/PPA.

    Additionally, if the property is sold before the HERO assessment and the lease/PPA obligation is paid in full, the remaining payments and solar benefits may be able to transfer to a new property owner.

    *HERO offers flexible terms of up to 25 years, depending on area and product type. The HERO term cannot exceed the length of the solar agreement.

  • Can I sell or refinance my property with solar lease financing?

    Yes, HERO properties can be sold or refinanced at any point. Remaining HERO assessment balances may be paid off or may be transferable to the new owner.

    Property owners should be aware that lending criteria can vary between lenders. Some lenders and/or buyers require the outstanding assessment balance to be paid off when a property owner refinances or sells a property. The selling and refinancing process has recently been streamlined for HERO property owners, buyers, and real estate professionals with the assistance of our in-house group of dedicated experts, HERO Property Advisors, available at 855-HERO-411 (437-6411) for assistance at any point in the transaction.

  • Is solar lease financing transferable upon sale?

    The following options are available to support the refinance or sale of a home with solar lease financing:

    • Full Transfer of the Solar Lease Financing: A full transfer of the solar lease financing/PPA includes the HERO assessment as well as the lease/PPA. When the solar lease financing/PPA is transferred to new owners, it does so with the sale of the property via the escrow process. Once transferred, the new property owner will assume the payments and receive the financial benefit that may be produced by the solar system. In order to receive full benefits from the lease/PPA provider, the potential buyer of a home with a solar lease financing project may be required to sign a lease/PPA transfer agreement, but the buyer does not need to qualify or reapply for HERO.
    • Transfer with Subordination: If the buyer’s lender requests it, in most cases HERO can offer a subordination contract.
    • Complete Payoff of Solar Lease Financing: The original property owner may pay off both the assessment balance and the lease balance, giving the future value of the solar system savings and the lease benefits to the new property owner. Some lease/PPA provisions related to the HERO Assessment will no longer apply once the HERO financing is paid off.
    • Purchase: Property owners may be permitted to purchase the solar system outright as specified in the terms of their lease/PPA. In this scenario, the current property owner and any subsequent owners will receive all benefits of the solar system. However, the lease holder is released of all lease obligations. As the new owner of the solar system, the property owner is responsible for all system maintenance and may remove the system.

    Our in-house group of dedicated experts, HERO Property Advisors, are available at 855-225-HERO for assistance at any point in the transaction.

  • Is there a prepayment penalty for the solar lease?

    No. A complete payoff of the HERO assessment requires paying off the remaining principal amount with no prepayment penalties and paying any remaining lease obligation. Please refer to your lease for details on any remaining lease obligation. A property owner may have a remaining lease obligation that they would be required to pay at close of escrow.

    Please contact HERO Property Advisors at 855-CAL-HERO (225-4376) for assistance with a prepayment schedule for your HERO home.

  • Can I partially pay off the solar lease?

    No, there are no partial payoff options for the solar lease. The lease can be maintained for its full term, completely paid off, or the solar system can be purchased outright.

  • How do I get a solar lease provided by HERO?

    Call HERO at 855-HERO-411 (437-6411) to identify a solar lease partner near you.

  • What products are available for solar lease financing?

    By law, only solar products are available for this lease product.

  • Can a property owner install their own eligible products?

    No, property owners are not able to install the system. The solar lease company will direct the installation of the system by one of their participating contractors in order to ensure the function and production of the system as required by the lease.

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