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Clean energy funding bill heading to governor’s desk; businesses could benefit

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PACE can be used to help fund energy efficient project such as installing solar panels. (File photo)
PACE can be used to help fund energy efficient project such as installing solar panels. (File photo)

A bill is heading to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk to establish a clean energy initiative aimed at helping with the financing of energy efficiency projects for commercial, agricultural or industrial properties.

PACE, or Pennsylvania’s Property Assessed Clean Energy program, provides low-cost, long-term funding for energy efficiency, renewable energy and water conservation upgrades.

Under the bill, it would be voluntary for a local community to participate in or develop a PACE financing program. That community could be a county or a municipality or a group of municipalities.

Participating communities would be tasked with collecting the assessment on the improved building and remit it for payment on the debt incurred from the building’s energy-efficiency and clean energy technology upgrades.

The entity wishing to install energy saving projects would go through a traditional commercial lender that would then work with the local PACE authority to put the value of the improvements toward the loan.

As part of its typical annual property tax billing process, the local governing body will levy the assessment which must be paid so that the loan can be amortized.

The designating authority collects the assessment and remits it to the bank to amortize the loan.

State Sen. John Blake, D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe, who sponsored Senate Bill 234 enabling PACE, said the financing would not require any public funds.

“In fact, it will result in more economic activity that will drive increased revenues into the commonwealth’s general Fund,” he said.

The U.S. has 33 states with PACE programs.

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Stacy Wescoe

Stacy Wescoe

Writer and online editor Stacy Wescoe has her finger on the pulse of the business community in the Greater Lehigh Valley and keeps you up-to-date with technology and trends, plus what coworkers and competitors are talking about around the water cooler — and on social media. She can be reached at stacyw@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4104. Follow her on Twitter at @morestacy and on Facebook. Circle Stacy Wescoe on .

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