Florida Municipalities Moving Ahead on Clean Energy Solutions

Guest Blog | May 7, 2012 | Energy Efficiency, Energy Policy

Have you heard of PACE?  Property Assessed Clean Energy?  Well, if you live in Florida, you will soon…

Florida’s local elected officials aren’t waiting around for state or federal action requiring enforcement of energy efficiency standards.  They know that we have tried and failed too many times to get a Renewable Portfolio Standard for the state of Florida, as utilities have fought any attempt to include renewable energy sources as 20% of their generation mix.   So, local officials have decided to sign up for PACE, as is their right under the law, to bring clean energy solutions directly to their businesses.

That will show the utilities!

In 2010, the Florida Legislature passed a law that authorized Florida municipalities to establish PACE districts. The Florida PACE Funding Agency was established in June 2011 with the initial incorporators of Flagler County and the City of Kissimmee.

PACE is a voluntary program whereby property owners can obtain financing for efficiency upgrades, solar projects and windstorm resistance improvements that are repaid through an assessment on their property tax bills for up to twenty years.  The Florida PACE funding agency enables local governments to access capital markets without having to implement individual programs.

April 2012 has been an active month for PACE programs in South Florida. A number of municipalities have joined Flagler County and the City of Kissimmee using PACE to remove barriers to investment in energy efficiency measures and solar projects:

  • The City of Miami joined five other south Miami municipalities in forming the “Green Corridor”. The Green Corridor District, is a separate legal entity that, under the PACE law, allows the cities to work together to finance energy-efficiency and solar projects for commercial properties.  The program will be funded and administered by the Ygrene Energy Fund.
  • The Towns of Lantana and Mangonia Park created the Florida Green Financing Authority and opted into the Florida Green Energy Works Program. This program is based on an “open market” model whereby, Florida Green Energy Works Program is open to any bank, contractor or property owner located within a city or county that opts into the Program.
  • Broward County also just approved a Request for Letters of Interest (RLI) to provide an energy efficiency retrofit and solar energy finance program with services to include commercial and residential financing, energy service program administration, and marketing. County staff recommended that the RLI be coordinated with partner counties in the Southeast Florida Climate Compact formed for the purpose of mitigating the causes ad adapting to the consequences of climate change. This is particularly significant as the Compact represents a joint commitment of Broward, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Monroe Counties.

If you add up all the counties and cities above, they account for 6 million of the state’s 19 million population.

The word is out – PACE is Now!

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