Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Dawn of an Energy Efficient Florida

Are your energy bills off the charts? Can't afford those new solar panels for your home? Florida's newest law will give you the tools to do something about it.

Last week, Florida Governor Charlie Crist signed HB 7179 into law, making Florida the latest state to authorize Property Assessed Clean Energy or PACE.   Under HB 7179, property owners can apply for funding and enter into financing agreements with local governments to finance energy and hurricane hardening improvements.  The local government has permission to collect the borrowed funds from property owners through non-ad valorem assessments.  The financing mechanism removes the upfront costs for property owners to invest in improvements that can reduce energy and insurance costs.

These improvements fall into three categories and apply to residential, commercial and industrial properties:
  1. Energy Efficiency Improvements
  2. Renewable Energy Systems
  3. Wind Resistance Improvements  

The bill passed through the House and Senate with little opposition and opens up the potential for many Florida cities and counties to launch energy finance programs.  A program offers benefits across many diverse groups:

1) Local government: Mechanism to create jobs in the construction industry and meet sustainability objectives without commiting general fund dollars on an ongoing basis.

2) Property Owners: Potential increase in cash flow as a result of energy savings and lowers risk by hedging against rising energy prices.

3) Utilities: Tool to achieve demand side management goals and reduce emissions.

4) Contractors: Increased market demand for services, increase in revenue and ensures a reliable payment source.


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