The following post is from Khari Mosley, Regional Program Manager for the BlueGreen Alliance in Pennsylvania.
Around the country, efforts to make industrial and commercials buildings become more energy efficient are helping to spur the growth of quality jobs and curb emissions that are driving climate change. One of the tools that is at the disposal of business and property owners in many states—and that hopefully will be available in Pennsylvania soon—is called a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program.
PACE is pretty simple. It helps property and business owners finance energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation investments in their buildings by allowing them to get work done now that is later paid back through voluntary tax assessments on the building they’re modernizing. The program is self-sustaining, and wouldn’t cost taxpayers anything.
Recently, Pennsylvania State Senators John Blake (D) and Guy Reschenthaler (R) joined labor, business, and environmental leaders to unveil their legislation to bring PACE to the Keystone State. Senate Bill 234 would allow PACE financing to be used to purchase new heating and cooling systems, lighting improvements, solar panels, water pumps and insulation and allow them to be repaid in the form of a voluntary property tax assessment on the specific, improved building.
Already, 33 states and the District of Columbia have PACE programs on the books.
At the press event announcing the bill, Sen. Blake said, “The Property Assessed Clean Energy program is a proven-successful economic development tool that enhances property values and employment opportunities; lowers the cost of doing business; and expands the use of energy saving technologies.”
Sen. Reschenthaler added, “PACE is a commonsense, voluntary program, that doesn’t cost taxpayers a penny. PACE increases the use of energy-saving and environmentally-conscious technology, saves businesses money, and will create family-sustaining jobs throughout the commonwealth because of sales and installations.”
“PACE will create good jobs with family supporting wages and benefits, provide a boost for areas of the state that have faced economic challenges and help workers seeking careers in new and emerging industries.” – Dewitt Walton, United Steelworkers.
The BlueGreen Alliance supports this effort. Dewitt Walton, Special Assistant to the International President of the United Steelworkers, lauded the plan. “PACE will create good jobs with family supporting wages and benefits, provide a boost for areas of the state that have faced economic challenges and help workers seeking careers in new and emerging industries,” said Walton.
Other supporters of the bill at the event included members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), NECA-IBEW, Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance, PennEnvironment, and Evangelical Environment Network.
Watch the video of the press conference below.