Legislation Authorizing Low-Cost Financing of Water, Energy Conservation Projects Introduced by Texas Senator John Carona

Feb 06, 2013, 15:35 ET from Keeping PACE in Texas

AUSTIN, Texas, Feb. 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Texas State Senator John Carona, Chairman of the Senate Business and Commerce Committee, has introduced legislation that would allow building owners in Texas to obtain private sector financing for water conservation and energy efficiency improvements through low-cost, long-term loans repaid with voluntary property assessments.

SB 385, the Property Assessed Clean Energy Act, updates a 2009 Texas statute to address water conservation and authorize municipalities and counties to use property assessments as an economic development tool. The financing program, known as Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE), creates a secure repayment mechanism so that private sector lenders can extend credit for water and energy efficiency improvements at reasonable rates. Overall, 27 other states and the District of Columbia have adopted PACE-enabling legislation, and many commercial and industrial PACE programs are underway.

"The upfront costs and capital required for projects of this type are often economic barriers to property owners," says Sen. Carona. "PACE loans will remove these barriers and enable owners to upgrade and enhance the value of existing structures, save substantial amounts in water and energy costs, and create thousands of jobs in implementing these improvements."

"PACE will help Texans meet the conservation goals in our State Water Plan and reduce demand on our electric grid," Sen. Carona continues. "These savings will benefit the building owners directly and help keep the Texas economic engine primed for growth and prepared for the continuing influx of people moving to Texas to share in our prosperity."

"PACE is an innovative and effective way for property owners to reduce utility costs while increasing their property values," says Charlene Heydinger, Executive Director of Keeping PACE in Texas, a non-profit association formed to promote PACE-related legislation. "Participation in PACE is strictly voluntary, protects local decision-making authority, does not create a burden on government resources or finances, and offers a proven way to conserve valuable resources for future generations. This is a market-based economic development program with no governmental mandates or political influence."

The PACE financing process begins when a property owner identifies a qualifying conservation improvement to an existing building. The owner engages a contractor to determine the scope of the work, and obtains an independent analysis to confirm that the work will achieve the projected savings. Then the owner arranges financing through a bank or other lender and applies for approval of the financing under the PACE program.

Similar legislation is expected to be introduced in the Texas House in the near future.

A copy of SB 385 is available at http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/83R/billtext/pdf/SB00385I.pdf#navpanes=0a and more information about the PACE program is available at www.keepingpaceintexas.org.

Contact: Charlene Heydinger, 512.469.6184, charlene.heydinger@keeppace.org.

SOURCE Keeping PACE in Texas