by Matt Jones, Community Engagement & Programs Director,
There is a clean energy boom in the Hudson Valley, and considering all of the different programs and organizations, it can be hard to decipher the information to determine how they work together, and how they might benefit you.
For the purpose of transparency and clarity, we at Re>Think Local want to help explain both what is going on macrocosmically at the state level, as well as microscopically at the local level, including our involvement with Energize NY, a non-profit local development corporation that “drives demand for clean energy upgrades through community-based outreach about energy saving opportunities and by providing low-cost, long-term financing to commercial and not-for-profit building owners for clean energy projects.”
That all sounds great, you might ask, but “what is PACE, who is Energize NY, how is Re>Think Local involved, and what does this have to do with me?”
Let’s back up for a minute and look at the overall landscape.
In 2014, Governor Cuomo initiated the New York State funded Reforming the Energy Vision, which is “a comprehensive energy strategy for New York to help consumers make better and more informed energy choices, enable the development of new energy products and services, protect the environment and create new jobs and economic opportunity throughout New York State.”
Reforming the Energy Vision has 40+ initiatives that tie into its overarching goals, roughly grouped into seven categories. One such category is “clean energy financing,” and one of the initiatives within this category is PACE.
PACE, or “Property Assessed Clean Energy” is an initiative that helps “finance energy efficiency, renewable energy and water conservation upgrades to buildings.” More specifically, PACE can pay for:
- new heating and cooling systems,
- lighting improvements,
- solar panels,
- water pumps,
- and insulation.
These upgrades can be applied to almost any property owned by a commercial or not-for-profit entity, including commercial, industrial, multi-family, educational, religious and agricultural.
In terms of the actual financing, PACE can:
- pay for 100% of a project’s costs;
- be repaid through a charge or assessment added to the property’s tax bill during the term of the financing;
- have terms up to 20 years;
- be transferred to new owners in the event that the property is sold.
As mentioned in the above description of Reforming the Energy Vision, State and local governments sponsor PACE financing to create jobs, promote economic development, and protect the environment. Dutchess, Orange, Ulster County and cities of Beacon and Kingston, have PACE financing available to property owners in their districts.
Here’s where Energize NY and Re>Think Local come into the picture. We at Re>Think believe this is a wonderful opportunity and are working with Energize NY to educate and inform commercial and not-for-profit building owners about the many benefits of clean energy projects, especially when financed with Energize NY (PACE) Finance. PACE financing is not yet available for individual homeowners, but if you are a owner, there are many ways that Energize NY can help you improve the energy performance of your home. Please visit Energize NY’s website to learn more.
As mentioned above, Energize NY works with not-for-profits and commercial property owners to secure PACE financing to help them complete clean energy projects (here’s a nifty video created by Energize NY Finance). In addition, Energize NY “can help property owners identify incentive programs, find reliable and certified contractors and engineering firms, access low-cost, long-term financing and develop a plan for measurement and verification of energy savings after the upgrades are complete.” In other words, instead of having to figure it all out from scratch, Energize NY provides a seamless one-stop shopping experience.
One example of a clean energy project completed using Energize NY Finance, is the ground-mounted solar installation at 5 Spoke Creamery in Goshen, New York, which was featured as an example of Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision strategy. Check out the video here.
Another project example is Terra Tile and Marble, in Briarcliff, New York. The Gasch family was able to cut their energy bills and are currently able to use the savings to expand their staff. Using Energize NY financing, they installed a 120 kW solar electric system on the roof of their 30,000 square foot showroom, warehouse and office building, which is expected to supply 95% of their electricity needs. Here’s the project’s profile with more details, including costs, incentives, and estimated savings.
We at Re>Think Local are using our broad reach across the Hudson Valley to introduce as many commercial property owners as we can to the many advantages of clean energy projects and how Energize NY financing make these projects possible.
As a commercial property owner, we strongly encourage you to work with Energize NY to leverage PACE financing to save energy and money, improve the quality and value of your property, and help protect the environment. It’s truly a multi-faceted “win.”