FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla., Oct. 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Broward County Commission unanimously voted to move forward with an innovative "open market" approach to financing for residential and commercial energy retrofits for its more than 1.8 million county residents.
The Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program adopted by the County lets property owners voluntarily and cost-effectively fund energy-saving retrofits of their homes and businesses. Financing is available for solar panels, LED lighting, HVAC and wind-resistance improvements. Interest rates are competitive because repayment is collected as an assessment on the owners' property tax bill.
"Contractors have been waiting a long time for this – we're ready to get to work!" said Larry Clark of Sustainable Performance Solutions, a Broward-based energy auditor. "We applaud the Commission for its leadership in unanimously moving Broward forward into a future full of good, green jobs."
Broward's vote signals a shift towards using multiple providers that compete to offer the best solutions to constituents—a shift away from programs that would limit participants to a single lender.
As part of this new, multiple provider approach, the County decided to hire EcoCity Partners, who administers the State's only statewide "open market" program. The Florida Green Energy Works initiative has been gaining momentum, expanding to its fifth Florida county.
"This is a game-changer for the community," said Michael Wallander, Principal with EcoCity Partners. "PACE provides a public good that should not be monopolized by one company, it should be used to create a competitive, open marketplace for innovative financing solutions."
The Program could lead very quickly to hundreds of millions of dollars of investment in energy saving upgrades in the County. For instance, in just one year, Renovate America, a partner of the team led by EcoCity Partners, has approved over $300 million in residential PACE financing and funded nearly $100 million of energy retrofits in a community smaller than Broward.
"We are thrilled with the County Commission's decision and the excellent work by staff and we plan on pushing to launch as soon as possible – hopefully within 30 days," said Wallander.
About EcoCity Partners, L3C & The Florida Green Finance Program
With the addition of Broward County, the Florida Green Energy Works Program expands to serve jurisdictions across 5 counties and over 2 million people, geographically the largest such program in Florida. The company also recently received over $1.4 million in federal awards from the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Economic Development Association to demonstrate a new streamlined financing process, provide free energy audits, and to help expand the Program statewide.
SOURCE Florida Green Energy Works