Extension Director and Urban Sustainability Agent
A bill that will establish a renewable energy program in Florida was passed by the Florida Legislature in 2010. A PACE program allows local governments to finance renewable energy and storm resistance improvements for homeowner’s and businesses. There are 16 states with PACE programs already. Adding the storm resistance retrofits for Florida homes is a plus. A PACE bond provides a financing program through the local government to make improvements (solar systems or energy efficiency retrofits) that reduces up front costs. It is paid through property tax bills over 20 years and the goal is to create a positive cash flow with annual savings greater than the cost of the improvements.
Advantages for Homeowner’s
- Lower energy bills and substantially reduced upfront costs for energy retrofits
- Improved return on investment/positive cash flow on retrofits (annual savings greater than the cost)
A PACE program can significantly accelerate renewable energy, energy independence, green job creation and greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Since the improvements stay with the property, so does the tax obligation—if the property is transferred or sold, the new owners will pay the remaining tax obligation. This helps reduce the barrier for homeowner’s that may not want to invest in a home they are not sure how long they will own. Supporting local government efforts to create this financing option is important to promote renewable energy.