What is PACE & Why is It So Cool?
What is PACE? PACE is a program that helped thousands of homeowners across the nation make energy-efficient retrofits and add solar power systems to their homes through a simple surcharge on their property taxes. In other words, instead of dropping a ton of money on a solar or energy efficiency project right up front or paying extra (but still saving) through a solar lease, PACE allowed people to pay of the cost of their project slowly by increasing their property taxes a bit to cover the costs.
“The concept behind the PACE program is that the energy savings from energy efficiency and clean energy projects would outstrip the costs over time, but that the upfront costs were a barrier to many people in implementing the badly needed changes,” as Shari Shapiro writes over on Cleantechies.
How PACE Got Stabbed in the Chest
Now, as I said above, as PACE was getting wildly popular across the U.S., the federal government killed it. Here’s a quick summary on that from Shapiro:
Several municipalities and states had implemented these programs, and it sounded like such a good idea that $150 million in the ARRA was dedicated to support them. Unfortunately, in mid-2010 the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates government sponsored mortgage buyers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which regulates national banks stopped the PACE programs in their tracks by refusing to issue mortgages that had a PACE loan in first priority.
See Susan’s story from July 2010 for more on this.
PACE is Coming Back!… Maybe
Well, there has been a big push to revive PACE and now there’s an opportunity for you to help out in that push.
“Bipartisan legislation to restore PACE programs will be introduced in the U.S. Congress House of Representatives on Wednesday, July 20, 2011,” PACE Now reports.
“The Bill is sponsored by Congresswoman Nan Hayworth (R-NY), and Congressmen Dan Lungren (R-CA) and Mike Thompson (D-CA), and a draft can be downloaded here.”
PACE Now had a webinar on the above on July 14th (which you can view via that link — the webinar presentation alone is available here). Basically, though, that all leads into the following, and important call to action:
Take Action to Help Revive PACE
From PACE Now’s website, here’s info on how you can help to get this new legislation moving forward and revive PACE:
It is critically important that you urge your member of Congress in the House of Representatives to support this Bill. A strategy for introducing a Bill in the Senate is in the works…. right now, support in the House is the key. Take a moment and call, e-mail, or send a letter to your member of Congress.
Call – E-Mail – Write your House Representative
Use your zip code to send an automated letter here to your representative in the House (see the text here).
Use this “Save PACE Letter to Congress” here that you can put on your, or your organization’s letterhead. Please remember to send a copy to us at PACENow@gmail.com.
Ask your local government or other organization to pass the attached Resolution Supporting PACE Legislation. Please send a copy of your adopted Resolution to PACENow@gmail.com.
Find your member of the House here by entering your zip code in the upper right corner.
Call 202-224-3121 – US Capitol Switchboard – to be transferred to your representative’s office.
The materials linked here will help.
HR Bill ____ We’ll upload the introduced version with the Bill number as soon as it’s available, but don’t wait, just refer to the PACE Protection Act of 2011 introduced by Hayworth, Lungren and Thompson.
Video replay of PACENow’s July 14th Webinar – Call to Action – just give it a minute to load
Talking Points for the Bill one page of useful bullet points
PACE 2 Page Summary a more comprehensive 2 page summary
Making the Case for PACE Legislation longer and more thorough
Take action now to help get PACE going again and help get the U.S. back on track on this important topic.
More PACE Stories on CleanTechnica:
- Fannie and Freddie Inadvertently Shut Down PACE Solar Funding (and How to Make Them Stakeholders; to End this Impasse)
- Solar Industry in 2009: 17,000 More Jobs, 37% Increase in Capacity, Major Drop in Costs
- Top 10 “Clean Energy” Topics to Keep an Eye On
- Rooftop Solar = 4% of Sonoma County’s Power!
Image via CoCreatr
I'm the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular clean energy website in the world, and Planetsave, a leading green and science news site. I've been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and I've been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, bicycling, and wind energy for the past few years. You can also find my work on Scientific American, Reuters, Think Progress, GE's ecomagination site, several sites in the Important Media network, & many other places. To connect on some of your favorite social networks, go to zacharyshahan.com or click on some of the links below.