Modified: February 14, 2019 3:36pm
Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz was joined today by Legislator John Bruso (8th District), Vice-President of the Western New York Sustainable Business Roundtable (“WNYSBR”) Ali Adelman along with other members of the WNYSBR, Vice-President of Solar Liberty Nathan Rizzo, and Commissioner of the Department of Environment and Planning Thomas Hersey to sign a new local law establishing a sustainable energy loan program in Erie County. The new law will provide Property Assessed Clean Energy (“PACE”) financing to property owners for the installation of renewable energy systems and energy efficiency measures. Eligible properties include currently existing commercially-owned buildings (for-profit or not-for-profit) and multi-family residential properties.
“I would like to thank Legislator Bruso for his support and for sponsoring this local law, which is the next step towards an Erie County that is cleaner, healthier and more energy efficient in the future. The PACE program will assist property owners in upgrading their building energy systems by offering low-cost, long-term financing for clean energy improvements. This is just one way that county government can lead in promoting renewable energy, a critical area the federal government has failed in,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “This financing will allow property owners to make these improvements right away, with no upfront payments, and then repay the financed amount over a longer term through an annual charge on their property tax bill. As part of my administration’s 2018 Erie County Commits to Paris report we identified ways that Erie County government can lead in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, both in its own operations and in the community. We are now doing that and the PACE program will now help to jump start clean energy improvements in communities countywide.”
The PACE program will provide up to 100% financing for clean energy improvements for not-for-profit and commercially owned properties, provided that amount does not exceed 10% of the value of the property. Single family residences are currently not allowed to participate. Commercial properties include such places as offices, retail spaces, healthcare facilities, agricultural buildings, hospitality facilities, incorporated multifamily properties, industrial buildings, warehouses, houses of worship, private schools and colleges, and more. Terms are available up to twenty years, are transferrable, and have low fixed rates of interest. PACE financing is approved for use on Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy projects, which must be approved by NYSERDA to determine the needed investment and energy savings.
Legislator John Bruso (8th District) said, “PACE makes it possible for many businesses and not-for-profit agencies that have thought about improving their energy efficiency to do so right away, with low costs that can be repaid over as many years as they need while the benefits start accruing immediately. Our children and grand-children will inherit the Erie County that we are creating today, for better or for worse, and by putting programs like PACE in place we are providing tools for property owners to do their part in creating that cleaner, greener Erie County. I was proud to sponsor this legislation and help to move our county forward towards that goal.”
Clean energy projects such as installing efficient lighting, insulation and air sealing, efficient heating and cooling systems, smart controls, energy storage and combined heat and storage are acceptable for PACE financing as well as are renewable energy system installations such as solar electric, solar thermal, biomass and geothermal. Eligible properties must be current on their tax payments for the last three years and clear of bankruptcy filings for the last seven years. Loan-to-value ratios on the property cannot exceed 80% and the property must not have any involuntary liens, defaults, or judgments applicable to it. Financing is repaid through a line item that is added to the property’s tax bill, so that by paying the property’s annual taxes the owner will be making the annual loan payment.
“As an innovative financing mechanism, PACE legislation in Erie County creates a path for commercial property owners to invest in energy efficiency, renewable energy and energy conservation projects. The results of PACE will be impactful with benefits ranging from serving as an economic driver in the region to cleaner air, lower carbon emissions, and the growth of green jobs. The passing of PACE legislation supports the mission of the WNY Sustainable Business Roundtable and is a great milestone in creating an environmentally and economically resilient Buffalo- Niagara region,” said Wendel’s Ali Adelman, VP of the WNY Sustainable Business Roundtable.
Financing for the PACE program is provided by the Energy Improvement Corporation (“EIC”), a NYS LDC. The financing is authorized by Article 5L of NY General Municipal Law. Financing is not a bank loan and is not based on traditional credit scores; it automatically transfers to a new owner if the property is sold and provides flexible, customizable terms from five years up to twenty years. Additionally, only those projects that meet a Cost Benefit Ratio test as described in NYSERDA’s Commercial PACE Guidance Document qualify for financing.
For more information:
On PACE financing and how to apply for it, visit http://www.energizeny.org/
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