Forward Geek: Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing proves to be a success across the nation

October 16, 2014

President Clinton helped launch Property Assessed Clean Energy or PACE at the 2009 meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative. The progress PACE programs have made over the last five years was recognized at this year’s 10th anniversary meeting of Clinton Global Initiative in New York.

PACE is an innovative financing mechanism that makes it easier for property owners to complete energy efficiency upgrades and renewable energy projects that make buildings more valuable and sustainable. PACE allows property owners to finance 100% of a project’s costs and eligible measures include, lighting, windows, heating, cooling, ventilation equipment, solar panels, water pumps, and many more. Also, PACE works for just about any building and it has been used on office, retail, multi-family, single family, agricultural, hotel, government, and industrial properties.

David Gabrielson, Executive Director of PACENow, notes: “State and local government sponsored PACE programs are driving economic activity, creating local jobs, and helping achieve carbon reduction and other environmental goals.”

At the Clinton Global annual meeting, a number of PACE milestones were recognized. PACE has enjoyed a steady bipartisan support over the years. In fact, 13 Republican and 18 Democratic Governors have signed PACE enabling legislation, making PACE a truly bipartisan approach to energy conservation. New legislative efforts are underway in Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.

“PACE is a voluntary, market-based economic development program that does not burden government resources,” says Charlene Heydinger, Executive Director of Keeping PACE in Texas, a non-profit association. “PACE legislation passed the House and Senate on consent calendars and was quickly signed by Governor Perry. Our business community has been actively supportive throughout and helped design “PACE in a Box,” a uniform, user-friendly, sustainable and scalable administrative model that we are giving to all of our counties and municipalities.”

Today, over 80 percent of the US population lives in PACE enabled states and PACE is now available in more than 800 municipalities. Twenty five commercial and seven residential PACE programs are accepting applications and funding projects in CA, CT, DC, FL, MI, MN, MO, NY, OH, and WI, with 14 additional commercial programs near launch.

California is a leader, with PACE available and being used throughout the state. There are 8 active programs that provide financing for homes, commercial, agricultural, industrial and non-profit properties.

“Here in California, we have proven that financing works, that we can make great change quickly, and that local and state governments can lead. Now it is up to us to make good on that promise.” Cisco DeVries, President and CEO of Renewable Funding, a national clean energy finance company offering commercial and residential energy efficiency and renewable energy financing solutions.

Connecticut, under the leadership of Governor Malloy and the state’s Green Bank, established the statewide “C-PACE” program that covers 90% of the state’s building stock in 84 cities and towns thusfar. “C-PACE closed 30 commercial projects, sold a $30 million portfolio to a clean energy investor, and has $100 million worth of projects in the pipeline,” according to Jessica Bailey, Director of C-PACE program. “Connecticut’s commitment to PACE financing is saving building owners money, creating jobs, and reducing our state’s contribution to climate change.” Ms. Bailey was named one of 10 “Champions of Change” by the White House at the Solar Summit. She was honored for her role in designing C-PACE.

Major cities have made commitments to PACE retrofit programs. San Francisco, Los Angeles, D.C., Miami, Detroit, and Minneapolis all have active programs making PACE financing accessible to building owners. Additionally, Chicago, Salt Lake City, Houston, and Denver are developing commercial PACE programs.

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