Governor Wolf Signs New Legislation to Support Low-Cost, Clean Energy Technology in Pennsylvania
June 12, 2018
Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today signed Senate Bill 234, establishing Pennsylvania’s Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program, a financing mechanism that enables low-cost, long-term funding for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation upgrades to commercial or industrial properties. This legislation represents a triple win, for small businesses who will save money on their electricity and water bills, for Pennsylvania’s economy through the creation of new good paying clean energy jobs, and for cleaner air and water as new clean energy sources are added to our diverse energy mix.
“This innovative financing mechanism will support the creation of new clean energy and energy efficiency projects throughout the commonwealth, while also enhancing property values and employment opportunities, while lowering the costs of doing business,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “The implementation of this economic development tool in Pennsylvania is yet another example of the bipartisan work that can come out of Harrisburg when we work together on common sense legislation.”
Currently the upfront cost of installing energy-efficient or clean energy technology can be prohibitive for many small business owners. This legislation provides a common sense, market-driven, and voluntary solution to this problem without requiring any public funds.
This legislation provides a new option for local governments, who may choose to develop or participate in a PACE program. Once established, private lenders provide financing to building owners for energy-efficiency and clean energy technology upgrades. Then the local community simply collects an assessment on the improved building over a period of years and remits the payment to the lender to pay for the retrofit. In many cases, these upgrades can save the building owner more than the cost of the assessment, meaning they begin saving money immediately.
“The PACE program is a voluntary market-driven initiative which will create jobs and enhance Pennsylvania’s clean energy portfolio,” Senator John Blake said. “I have enjoyed working with my colleague Senator Guy Reschenthaler and wish to thank Governor Wolf for signing this bipartisan legislation into law and I look forward to working with our communities to begin implementing PACE in Pennsylvania.”
“We thank Governor Wolf for his leadership growing and sustaining good jobs in our state and protecting the environment and the leaders in the legislature that made this idea a reality,” said Khari Mosley, Regional Program Manager for the BlueGreen Alliance. “The Blue Green Alliance strongly supports commercial PACE because it will help our state by creating good jobs, boosting energy and water efficiency efforts, and make our state more competitive in the increasingly global marketplace.”
“This is an important victory in the effort to promote clean energy in Pennsylvania,” noted PennEnvironment Executive Director David Masur. “It’s impressive when Democrats and Republicans, environmentalists and labor unions, and business leaders can all come together to pass a critical clean energy policy like this.”
“We’re excited for the potential of PACE to attract investment and boost economic development here in Pennsylvania. PACE financing will help our contractors provide needed energy solutions for their commercial and industrial customers while putting electricians to work,” said Jeffrey Scarpello, Executive Director of the Penn-Del-Jersey Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association.
“The signing of SB 234 marks a major step forward for Pennsylvania’s energy efficiency industry,” said Matt Elliott, executive director for the Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance (KEEA). “With PACE financing for commercial properties coming to Pennsylvania, we’re going to see more investment in energy efficiency, more energy savings for Pennsylvania businesses, and more energy efficiency jobs. The commonwealth’s existing energy efficiency programs now employ more than 62,000 Pennsylvanians in fields ranging from construction to engineering to manufacturing. The establishment of PACE financing will help further grow this important local jobs market.”
PACE loans can be used to pay for clean energy upgrades such as new heating and cooling systems, lighting improvements, solar panels, water pumps, and insulation.
Currently, 33 states plus the District of Columbia authorize PACE financing for clean energy and energy efficiency projects; this includes a diverse group of states such as Alabama, California, Georgia, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Texas.
Today, the governor also signed House Bill 566, House Bill 1793, House bill 1952, and Senate Bill 880.