Clean energy loan legislation passes in New York Senate and Assembly

A new clean energy loan bill will help provide New York access to more than $450 million in Federal Funds designed for clean energy retrofits and renewable energy systems.


New York Governor David A. Paterson , Congressman Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), and legislative leaders announced the passage of the municipal clean energy loan program legislation. The Senate and Assembly passed the bill, which empowers communities to launch Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loan programs , today during an extraordinary session of the Legislature.

The legislation allows municipalities to leverage federal funds in order to provide loans to commercial and residential property owners to finance energy efficiency retrofits and renewable energy systems. Property owners could then opt into these programs and reap an immediate savings on their energy costs and repay their loans via an annual charge on their property tax bill.

Last month, Vice President Joe Biden announced $454 million in Recovery Act funding from the Dept. of Energy to support PACE pilot programs as part of his "Recovery through Retrofit" plan . Applications for the funding are due in December and awarded on a competitive basis. Currently, New York State law does not allow municipalities to add the additional property tax charge to owners' property tax bills, which is the mechanism used to pay back PACE loans. The bill passed by the New York State Legislature gives communities the ability to add this charge, making New York municipalities competitive in the bidding process for federal funds.

"Through my‘45 by 15' clean energy initiative, New York has significantly expanded energy efficiency incentive programs that are helping residents and businesses reduce their energy costs," Governor Paterson said. "Now, thanks to the leadership of President Obama and Congressman Israel,the federal government is offering programs that encourage the use of PACE loan programs. But to strengthen New York's ability to tap this federal funding, we needed to pass this legislation, which will authorize municipalities to administer PACE loan programs."

The Governor Paterson's "45 by 15" initiative, a goal of meeting 45% of the state's electricity needs through improved energy efficiency and renewable energy by 2015. It is estimated that the expanded use of clean energy technologies will create some 50,000 new jobs in New York.

"By passing the municipal sustainable energy loan program bill during the extraordinary session, we are putting New York municipalities in a position to compete for $454 million in federal stimulus funds," Congressman Israel said. "PACE programs will save home and business owners money, create new sustainable green jobs, bring clean energy companies to the State to compete for our business, and help wrench New York out of this painful recession."

According to PACE Now, an independent coalition of PACE bond supporters, it is estimated that the potential for PACE bonds could exceed $500 billion nationally. For most energy retrofit projects, property owners can expect to see an immediate energy savings of 20 to 40%. PACE bonds finance energy efficiency upgrades, such as double insulated windows, as well as the installation of clean energy technologies, such as solar panels or geothermal heat pumps.

PACE programs are endorsed by the Alliance to Save Energy , Climate Communities , National Assn. of Real Estate Investment Trusts , Natural Resources Defense Council , Real Estate Roundtable , Solar Energy Industry Assn. , Stewards for Affordable Housing for the Future , California Energy Commission , the American Institute of Architects , National Assn. of Home Builders , and Polyiso Insulation Manufacturers Assn .

Congressman Israel has also introduced federal legislation to support and expand PACE Bond programs (H.R.3836) , which would change the Dept. of Energy indirect loan guarantee program to provide 100% guarantees for PACE bond programs. In addition, a version of H.R. 3836 was included in the climate change bill - American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (H.R. 2454 ) - which passed Congress earlier this year.


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