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Bill Would Channel Private Funds for Clean-Energy Building Programs

Friday, June 19, 2015   (0 Comments)
Share | 06/15/15

Advocates for a clean-energy financing program on Friday renewed their call for state lawmakers to pass a bill, S-1510 that would let New Jersey municipalities obtain private funds for energy-conservation or clean-energy retrofit programs on behalf of the owners of commercial or residential buildings. New Jersey PACE, an acronym standing for Property Assessed Clean Energy, is designed to encourage building owners and managers to save energy and reduce carbon emissions, while increasing real-estate values and improving buildings’ resilience to extreme storms like Hurricane Sandy.

Under the plan, participating municipalities would arrange 100 percent financing for qualified projects through private lenders, who would be repaid over terms of up to 20 years with revenue from a property tax assessment on an improved building. Municipalities would be reimbursed for their administrative costs by the PACE program, while lenders would be encouraged to participate by the security of receiving revenue that is built into a building’s property-tax assessment.

Its program saves energy, creates jobs, boosts buildings’ market value, and reduces carbon emissions, Hunter said. He cited a small plumbing and heating business that obtained $145,000 in PACE financing to install a 55kW roof-mounted solar system that is expected to save the company $418,000 in energy costs over the life of the loan. The bill’s supporters argue that the PACE model, already adopted for commercial buildings by 14 other states, increases property values by making buildings more efficient, while cutting both individual energy bills and overall carbon emissions.

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