Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Senate Committee OKs Bill To Fund Local Energy Efficiency Projects

The Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee Tuesday voted to amend and reported out Senate Bill 234 (Blake-D-Lackawanna) that would authorize local governments to create energy improvement districts to help fund energy efficiency, renewable energy and water conservation projects by commercial and industrial buildings to reduce their operating costs.
“The Property Assessed Clean Energy program is a proven-successful economic development tool that enhances property values and employment opportunities; lowers the cost of doing business; and expands the use of energy saving technologies,” said Sen. John Blake prime sponsor of the bill. “Our legislation would give Pennsylvania businesses an opportunity to make costly energy-saving upgrades with a creative, market-driven funding mechanism that does not spend a dime of taxpayer money.”
Under Senate Bill 234, PACE financing-- which can be used to purchase new heating and cooling systems, lighting improvements, solar panels, water pumps and insulation-- would be repaid in the form of a voluntary property tax assessment on the specific, improved building.
“PACE is a commonsense, voluntary program, that doesn’t cost taxpayers a penny. PACE increases the use of energy-saving and environmentally-conscious technology, saves businesses money, and will create family-sustaining jobs throughout the commonwealth because of sales and installations,” said Sen. Guy Reschenthaler (R-Allegheny) a co-sponsor of the bill. “I look forward to working with my colleagues and the dozens of organizations that support the proposed PACE legislation.”
A local government would be able to choose to participate in or develop a PACE financing program.
PACE financing would not require any public funds; participating local 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 bill is now on the Senate Calendar for action.
A companion bill-- House Bill 1722 (Harper-R-Montgomery)-- is pending in the House Local Government Committee.
Sen. Mario Scavello (R-Monroe) serves as Majority Chair of the Committee and he can be contacted by sending email to: Sen. Larry Farnese (D-Philadelphia) serves as Minority Chair and can be contacted by sending email to:

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