Fighting climate change: Ann Arbor taking steps to advance Climate Action Plan goals

Ann Arbor is moving forward on programs to further its Climate Action Plan goals, which include reducing community greenhouse gas emissions by 90 percent by 2050.

The City Council voted unanimously Monday night to approve an $85,000 contract with the nonprofit Clean Energy Coalition for community climate and energy program work.

The “community” part denotes that the city is moving beyond its own municipal walls and trying to encourage sustainable behavior in the broader community, including in the areas of energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Nate Geisler, the city’s energy programs analyst, and Matt Naud, the city’s environmental coordinator, indicated in a memo to council that the CEC will provide support to continue projects that were initiated using federal funds that have since expired, as well as other emerging initiatives aimed at keeping the city at the forefront of innovation in sustainability at the municipal and community levels.

That includes promoting energy efficiency in the city’s commercial and multi-family building stock — the thinking being that money residents and businesses save will stay in the local economy, providing both economic and environmental benefits.

The council’s resolution mentions plans to continue efforts related to “greening” rental housing in Ann Arbor.

The CEC also will continue community solar work and develop a model for expanding private investment in solar power for those residents and businesses that might not be able to install the technology on their own properties. Read more.

PACE in NH: Jordan Institute and SRS partner up to run NH C-PACE program

Concord, NH: The Jordan Institute, a Concord-based non-profit organization focused on innovative solutions to reducing energy consumption and promoting the benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy (EE/RE) projects, is teaming with Sustainable Real Estate Solutions (SRS), to develop and administer New Hampshire’s new C-PACE program which is expected to “go live” in 2015.
Short for Property Assessed Clean Energy for Commercial buildings, C-PACE financing is an innovative tool that, similar to a sewer assessment, connects loan repayments for EE/RE projects to the commercial building and not the building’s owner. Municipalities must adopt this program prior to building owners using this financing tool. It is an entirely voluntary, opt-in program for municipalities, capital providers, contractors, existing mortgage holders, and building owners. Read more.

Kroll Bond Rating Agency Assigns Preliminary Ratings to HERO Funding Trust 2014-2 Class A Notes

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns a preliminary rating of AA(sf) to HERO Funding Trust 2014-2 Class A Notes (HERO 2014-2). The notes are newly issued asset-backed securities backed by a portfolio of Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) bonds.

The notes are secured by 261 limited obligation improvement bonds, issued by Western Riverside Council of Governments (WRCOG) and San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG). The PACE bond portfolio is secured by 6,858 PACE assessments levied against 6,666 residential properties located in eleven California counties. The average PACE assessment is $19,414 with an average annual payment of $2,499. The transaction benefits from credit enhancement in the form of excess spread, overcollateralization, and a liquidity reserve.

KBRA analyzed HERO 2014-2 using the General Rating Methodology for Asset-Backed Securities published on July 30, 2012. PACE assessments fall within Category 1: Financial Assets. The key determinants considered in the rating outcome are: a structural and legal analysis of the transaction; the treatment of PACE assessments as senior tax liens; and the creditworthiness of the Counties acting as servicer. Read more.

Unique Opportunities in Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Financing

The Wisconsin-based Public Finance Authority (the “Authority”) recently completed a first-of-its kind bond transaction that securitizes up to $30 million of commercial property assessed clean energy (“PACE”) loans originated by the Connecticut Clean Energy and Finance Investment Authority (“CEFIA”).1 This Update discusses the legal context for PACE financing, and addresses special considerations for lenders and building owners involved in PACE financing transactions.

Under the Connecticut PACE Program (“C-PACE”), CEFIA made loans of up to $2.5 million to commercial property owners in Connecticut to fund renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements on their properties (such as new HVAC and solar photovoltaic systems). The C-PACE loans are secured by “benefit assessment liens” on the improved commercial properties that, under the Connecticut enabling legislation, are superior to all other liens on the property except tax liens. CEFIA has the authority to enforce a benefit assessment lien if a borrower defaults. Read more.

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

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. Read more.

South Coast Air Quality Management District honors HERO PACE financing program with Clean Air Award

Los Angeles, Calif.  – The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) honored the HERO PACE financing program, the Western Riverside Council of Governments and San Bernardino Associated Governments as its Clean Air Award Winner for 2014 in the category of Model Community. SCAQMD is the air pollution control agency for all Orange County and the urban portions of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.

 

According to the SCAQMD, the Clean Air Award “honors the visionaries in our region who have helped in the fight for clean air through innovation, leadership and exemplary service.”

 

HERO is a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program. It allows homeowners to finance energy- and water-efficiency improvements through their property tax payments. Homeowners can choose the term of their loan (5-20 years), and interest on the payments is tax deductible. Additionally, PACE assessments transfer to the new owner when the home is sold in most cases.

 

HERO launched in Western Riverside County in 2011 and was made available to San Bernardino County homeowners shortly thereafter. To date, 192 cities and counties, representing 16 million people, have made HERO available to their residents.  HERO has funded improvements which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 568,000 tons, the equivalent of removing 300,000 passenger vehicles from the road for one year.  HERO has also created more than 2,600 local jobs in California. Read more.

Another New Chapter Begins For Pace

by Erin L. Deady, Herb Thiele & Chad Friedman

Excerpt from “Another New Chapter Begins For PACE

NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED
Only in Florida can we come this far where PACE is beginning to scale again in this post-litigation climate, where we now have new legal hurdles. In no other state are PACE programs facing such obstacles deploying the myriad of options that exist for local governments to launch PACE as in Florida. Currently, there are four active cases in litigation regarding three ongoing bond validations for PACE programs. These cases include the Leon County Energy Improvement District (a dependent special district of Leon County)5, the Clean Energy Coastal Corridor6 and the Florida Development Finance Corporation7. Despite this current activity, three validations have occurred to date: 1) 2010 for St. Lucie County 2) 2011 for the Florida PACE Funding Agency and 3) 2012 for the Green Corridor, but now challenging and appealing these rather routine bond validation proceedings is common.
Either through single jurisdiction programs or multi-jurisdictional programs, bond validations pursuant to Chapter 75, F.S.,8 are undertaken to use bond proceeds to finance the actual “qualifying improvements” in a PACE program. The PACE assessments are used to secure the bonds in the programs. The scope of bond validation proceedings is a three-pronged test: 1) does the public body have authority to issue the bonds, 2) is the purpose of the bonds legal and 3) does the bond issuance comply with the requirements of law?
As stated, three bond validation proceedings for PACE are being challenged and appealed to the Florida Supreme Court and a fourth appeal has been filed by the Florida Banker’s Association (separate case involving one of the three mentioned proceedings). The scope of the appeals has been to challenge the financing agreement or due process/procedural claims regarding the bond validation process itself. None of the appeals have included an attack on the PACE statute, Section 163.08, F.S., (for instance constitutionality), or the underlying programs. Robert Reynolds, a citizen of Leon County filed a notice of appeal in two of the three proceedings (Leon County Energy Improvement District and Florida Development Finance Corporation) and three citizens in Broward County, Vicki Thomas, Christopher Trapani and Sidney Karabel, filed an appeal in the Clean Energy Coastal Corridor proceeding. The Florida Banker’s Association has also filed a notice of appeal involving one of the three proceedings (Florida Development Finance Corporation), although their basis for appeal is unknown at the time of this writing. Given the common nature of these programs, it begs the question as to why these common proceedings are being challenged in the first place. Appellees are represented by common counsel in three of the four total cases while the three residents of Broward County are represented by separate counsel.

PACE in MI: 1-800-LAW-FIRM’s use of PACE is highlighted once more

High Level Marketing (HLM) applauds 1-800-LAW-FIRM’s recent investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency per the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program, and challenges business owners to incorporate elements of green architecture in the design and construction, or retrofitting, of their commercial buildings.

West Bloomfield, MI (PRWEB) September 29, 2014

High Level Marketing (HLM) challenges business owners nationwide to incorporate elements of green architecture in the design and construction, or retrofitting, of their commercial buildings. HLM applauds 1-800-LAW-FIRM’s use of Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing, leadership and commitment to its local community and the entire planet.

At High Level Marketing when we are amazed by our clients’ successes, awards and all sorts of initiatives, we can’t help but spread the word. (Drumroll here…) We are both proud and excited to announce that 1-800-LAW-FIRM’s headquarters in Southfield, MI has been retrofitted into a model for renewable energy and energy efficiency. The installation of solar panels on the building’s roof is finished. This week, the installation of micro-wind turbines and a carport with solar panels will be completed. Read more.

PACE in CT: Preston selectmen consider joining C-PACE program

Preston  Town officials are considering joining eight other southeastern Connecticut municipalities participating in a state-sponsored energy-efficiency program that provides loans to businesses and nonprofit entities collected through special assessments on their tax bills.

The Board of Selectmen heard a presentation Thursday by Alex Kovtunenko, junior counsel for the Connecticut Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE), a program run by the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority.

The program offers loans to businesses and nonprofit entities – such as churches and YMCAs – to finance 100 percent of the cost of energy upgrade projects. The loan payments, typically at 5 to 6 percent interest, are paid back through a method akin to a sewer assessment lien on the property.

The energy assessment lien would be charged to the loan recipient as a separate line item on the tax bill, with the payment going to the town. The town tax collector then would remit the payment to C-PACE.

Although the town would not be paid for routine hand ling of the payments, C-PACE would reimburse the town for any undue burdens the system might put on the town, such as software upgrades or extra training needed, Kovtunenko said.  Read more.

PACE in CA: Simi Valley City Council voted 5-0 to approve the city’s participation in the Figtree PACE Program

On Sept. 15, the Simi Valley City Council voted 5-0 to approve the city’s participation in the Figtree Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program, which allows property owners to receive loans to pay for energy-efficiency upgrades and water conservation efforts. The financing may be used to buy renewable energy products such as air conditioners, Energy Star windows and doors, electric vehicle charging stations and solar electricity.

The council adopted an agreement with the California Enterprise Development Authority, a joint powers authority that seeks to bridge gaps in economic development financing, to allow commercial, industrial and multifamily (apartment) property owners to finance energy and water conservation improvements. The loans are repaid in terms ranging from five to 20 years as part of the owner’s property tax bill with a fixed low-interest rate, according to a Figtree Financing’s website. Read more.

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