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2.2 Design Program to Meet Specified Goals

Planning for the commercial PACE program should integrate the local government’s goals (e.g., greenhouse gas reduction targets, economic development, and workforce development goals, if applicable). It is also important to engage local stakeholders and potential partners to assist in determining program goals, key program design elements, and criteria for eligible property improvements. Relevant stakeholders include contractors, auditors, investors, lenders, potential program participants, and financial administrators. Planners should examine and, to the extent they are combining ARRA funds with PACE programs, follow the relevant DOE Guidelines for Pilot PACE Financing Programs as they design underwriting standards, choose eligible measures, and determine other program details.

2.3 Determine Authority for PACE

Most communities will require authorization from their state legislature to allow local governments to collect a special tax or assessment to pay for energy efficiency or renewable energy improvements on private property. Local governments in California, for example, already have this authority under Chapter 29 of the 1911 Assessment Act through AB 811 and through Mello-Roos (for charter cities).

The key features that often must be added to existing state law to enable energy financing districts include the following:

  • Authority to finance improvements on private property

  • Authority to finance renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements

  • An opt-in feature

See Attachment B. Key Features to be Added to Existing State Law for details.

2.4 Initiate Formation of an Energy Financing District

This step is likely to require several actions by the city council or county board of supervisors and various approvals. As this is a lengthy process, starting it as early as possible is a good idea.

New Mexico passed authorizing legislation for residential and commercial PACE programs to finance renewable energy projects. The districts in New Mexico’s PACE programs are referred to as Renewable Energy Financing Districts (REFDs). Santa Fe County, as an example, established a REFD in about 6 months, with the following process:

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9 .

Identify a champion (typically an elected official to support the program) Determine staff resources Coordinate the effort with bond counsel Identify administrative and financial partners Determine which geographical regions the REFD will include Determine the composition of the REFD Board Adopt a resolution of intent to form the REFD Conduct a formation hearing Adopt the formation ordinance


Chapter 13


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