Monday, June 14, 2010

Colorado: The New Model for Second Generation PACE programs

Finally someone recognizes the inefficiency of each county or city implementing and administering its own clean energy finance program.   Last Friday, the State of Colorado passed House Bill 1328 to establish a New Energy Improvement District that will promote and finance county PACE programs across the state. A county just needs to opt in to join the district.

The legislation was developed to prevent the current inefficient model of PACE programs, in which individual counties and cities are responsible for each going through the steps to establish their own special districts and financing.  The process of reinventing the wheel is no longer necessary after multiple states launched the first generation of energy financing programs in Berkeley, CA, Sonoma County, CA, Palm Desert, CA and Boulder County, CO. California, the birthplace of the PACE financing concept and the state that has the most aggressive in turning PACE legislation into action, has been moving toward this model after a number of counties and cities piloted their own programs. 

The Colorado legislation will allow for up to $800 million in bonds to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.  The main limitation is that the program will only cover residential energy improvements.  Colorado's previous clean energy financing legislation still allows for counties to establish special districts to finance both energy projects for residential and commercial properties.

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