Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Financing (a.k.a.: energy finance district or energy improvement district)

Bill analyses have been prepared by both Senate and House committee staffers

The 2010 Florida legislative session concludes this month, noting these key dates:

-20 April: 50th legislative day; last day for regularly scheduled committee meetings

-26 April: All bills are immediately certified

-30 April: 60th day; last day of regular session

As you can see, we are in the final weeks of any chance of getting meaningful, responsible legislation that supports renewable energy and energy efficiency.

PACE would allow for creation of "Special Districts" (a confined local government established for a special purpose) that would then serve as a financing vehicle for renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements for residential and commercial buildings. As of late 2009, sixteen states have passed enabling legislation for PACE financing. (Note that Florida has already created over 1,600 Special Districts to serve community needs and services, and achieve governmental policies.)

PACE financing allow property owners to borrow money from a newly established "municipal financing district" to purchase renewable energy devices and energy efficiency technologies, products, and services. Funding is provided through issuance of local revenue bonds repaid through special assessments that act as a lien on the property until the amount is paid off.

PACE is not a tax, has no fiscal impact on city/county government (or their bond ratings), is not linked to the financial credit of the property owner, is opt-in, and is totally voluntary.

It has been estimated a participation rate of 1% of Florida property owners would result in $1.2 billion of energy improvements, creating approximately 14,000 direct and indirect job-years, and a 5% participation would yield $6.2 billion in improvements and about 67,000 job-years.

Be sure to let your elected representatives in Tallahassee know of your support for this legislation. Once PACE passes, we will need to get city and county governments to introduce -- and pass -- local PACE ordinances or resolutions.

Legislative vehicles to explicitly approve the PACE approach to finance renewable energy and energy efficiency are working their way through both the Florida House and Senate.

Senate Bill SB 2322, Energy Improvement Districts, was introduced by Senator Bennett (R-Brandenton) on 23 February for consideration during the 2010 Legislative session.

The Senate bill was assigned to Communications, Energy and Public Utilities (CEPU, where it passed unanimously on 23 March) and Finance and Tax, where it was heard on 6 April at 15:15 ET Room 301/SOB (Sen. Bennett is a member of this Committee). (Note: Finance and Tax unanimously passed SB 2322 on 6 April.)

House Bill H 7179, Relating to qualifying improvements to real property, was introduced by Representative Precourt (R-Orlando) on 23 March, and has been referred to Finance and Tax Council, and General Government Policy Council.


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