Most of us think solar panels and other green energy sources are a great idea, but the up-front costs have always been a hurdle. Now, a bill to launch Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loan programs has cleared the New York State Legislature, paving the way for New Yorkers to access $454 million in federal funds for clean energy retrofits.
The legislation allows municipalities to make loans to businesses and homeowners for energy efficiency retrofits and renewable energy systems. Property Assessed Clean Energy (“PACE”) Finance is a bond or lien in which the proceeds are lent to commercial and residential property owners to finance energy retrofits. Instead of large, pronto payments by property owners for energy retrofits, the capital is lent to property owners and repaid over 15-20 years via an annual property tax surcharge. According to the bill’s supporters, this long-term repayment mechanism results in annual energy savings that greatly exceed the property tax hike, making PACE finance attractive to home and building owners.
Benefits of the program are many. At a national and state level it will result in significant job creation and reduced emissions, while property owners can expect lower energy bills and substantially reduced upfront costs, as well as improved return on their clean energy investment.
**Excerpted (with permission) from the Mid-Hudson Energy $mart Communities/NYSERDA Newsletter**