PACE Can Spur Expansion of Clean Energy in Florida

Susan Glickman | October 16, 2017 | Energy Policy

Florida is continuing its clean energy leadership with the expansion of Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing to more cities and counties across the state. This innovative financing model advances many of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy’s goals, namely, supporting climate solutions and creating local job opportunities. With recently-enacted state policy advancing the will of the voters to support solar power, and the current response to improve structures post-Hurricane Irma, PACE is one way to boost widespread adoption of clean energy in Florida.

PACE provides funds for property owners to install renewable energy systems and add energy efficiency, as well as wind resistance upgrades, then pay for the work over time through their property tax bill. Homeowners can use PACE financing to, for example, add solar panels, replace failing AC units with high-efficiency models, or install wind-resistant roofing.

The combination of competitive interest rates, approval based on home equity, fast processing, and stringent consumer safeguards makes PACE a compelling financing option for many homeowners and brings these energy and efficiency renovations within reach for many homeowners who may otherwise be unable to afford them. Communities where PACE is active have seen their collective carbon emissions decrease, the value of their housing stock increase, and their homeowners save money on utility bills.

There are now four companies offering PACE within the state, bringing healthy competition and broader opportunities for property owners to access clean energy improvements.

One of the core beliefs of Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is that communities should not have to choose between a healthy environment and a stable economy. PACE supports this belief by partnering with local governments to help them reduce their carbon emissions while creating local jobs. By stimulating home improvement activity, PACE creates local jobs in the contracting sector. These are jobs that are not easily automated or sent offshore.

Despite the policy advances and the abundant sunshine, fewer than 1% of Floridians own renewable energy systems. Fortunately, this number is growing, and with the expansion of new PACE options to more communities, the Sunshine State is poised to up the pace of combatting climate change and advancing the clean energy economy in Florida.

Susan Glickman
This blog was written by a former staff member of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.
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