New York Approves Local Property Assessments for Financing for Solar and Energy Efficiency

November 19, 2009

The New York legislature passed a law on November 16 authorizing municipal loan programs for renewable and energy efficiency improvements to homes and businesses. The measure allows municipalities to use Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing. Under PACE, cities or counties set up special clean energy finance districts capable of issuing low-interest bonds to participants. The bonds are used to cover the costs of renewable energy and efficiency improvements on private property, and participants pay the loans back through a 20-year assessment on their property taxes.

PACE programs are entirely voluntary. There are no requirements for municipalities to set them up for homeowners to take out loans from the programs. They are now allowed by state law in California, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin

Recently, DOE announced $454 million in Recovery Act funds to help set up programs such as PACE. For more information, read the New York governor's press release, and the DOE Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program application.