Countywide PACE Program Created

A new countywide program to help finance energy-efficiency projects for commercial properties was created with final approval from the Washtenaw County board of commissioners on Feb. 5, 2014. Initial approval had been given at the board’s Jan. 22, 2014 meeting, which included public commentary from supporters of the initiative. [.pdf of PACE program documentation] [.pdf of PACE cover memo] [.pdf PACE resolution]

The countywide Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program aims to help owners of commercial (not residential) properties pay for energy improvements by securing financing from commercial lenders and repaying the loan through voluntary special assessments.

The county is joining the Lean & Green Michigan coalition and contracting with Levin Energy Partners to manage the PACE program. Andy Levin, who’s spearheading the PACE program statewide through Lean & Green, had spoken briefly to the board on Jan. 22, 2014, and had previously answered questions about the program at the board’s Dec. 4, 2013 meeting. State Sen. Rebekah Warren also spoke briefly during public commentary on Dec. 4 to support the initiative. She was instrumental in passing the state enabling legislation to allow such programs in Michigan.

The law firm of Miller, Canfield, Paddock & Stone will act as legal counsel. Several other counties are part of Lean & Green, according to the group’s website. Other partners listed on the site include the Southeast Michigan Regional Energy Office, which was co-founded by county commissioner Conan Smith. Smith is married to Warren.

The county’s PACE program differs from the one set up by the city of Ann Arbor, which created a loan loss pool to reduce interest rates for participating property owners by covering a portion of delinquent or defaulted payments. Washtenaw County does not plan to set up its own loan loss reserve.

This brief was filed from the boardroom of the county administration building at 220 N. Main St. in Ann Arbor. A more detailed report will follow: [link]