Indiana community and environmental leaders are working with legislators to develop an energy savings program they say will save money and create jobs.
Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE programs give local governments the authority to loan money to businesses for energy upgrades, whether by improving energy efficiency or utilizing renewable energy. Businesses pay back the loans through property tax payments, using the savings generated by the improvements.
Hoosier Environmental Council Executive Director Jesse Kharbanda says the program works because it first requires a certified contractor to perform an energy audit on the buildings before any upgrades are made.
“It’s only funded to commercial property owners who can prove, through an audit, that the energy savings will exceed the property tax payments and it ensures that the cash flow facing the property owner that they’re in a better off position from a cash-flow perspective,” says Kharbanda.
PACE programs exist in more than two dozen states. Democratic Representative Dan Forestal says that allows Indiana to learn by example.
“I’m looking at a success story from Ann Arbor where the PACE gave a restaurant $8,300 in annual savings,” Forestal says.
In order to bring the program to Indiana, Forestal says the General Assembly will have to pass legislation next session which he’s helping develop this summer.