Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Financing
The city’s commitment to sustainability includes making important tools available to constituents to help them meet their own sustainability goals. In 2012, the City of West Palm Beach became one of the first municipalities in Florida to offer PACE financing for commercial properties through the RenewPACE (formerly Florida Green Energy Works) program.
RenewPACE is a program of the Florida Green Finance Authority, a partnership of local governments from across Florida. In partnership with multiple banks and financial institutions, they offer the only Open Market-based PACE finance program in Florida to help residential and commercial property owners finance energy efficiency, renewable energy and wind resistance improvements. They also offer businesses tools to make their operations more sustainable, protect consumers and have received recognition for their achievements.
Owners of eligible commercial property in West Palm Beach may choose to finance energy efficiency, renewable energy and wind resistance improvements to their property with little or no upfront cost, and then repay the financed amount over a term of up to 20 years as a non ad valorem assessment on the annual property tax bill.
There are just a few simple steps to receiving financing. First, sign up online by completing a simple form. Then an energy review by a qualified reviewer is completed and identifies eligible projects. Florida Power & Light offers free evaluations that may meet these criteria; however, you may choose your own evaluator and that cost can be included in the financing of the project. The proposed projects must make economic sense — the savings must justify the investment. Once a suitable project is identified, Florida Green Energy Works will match each owner with interested capital providers to finance the project, which could include the owner’s existing lender, and the owner just chooses the best offer. The building owner then chooses the contractor to complete the work, and the contractor is paid when the project is complete. Florida Green Energy Works arranges for the annual assessments to appear on the tax bill to repay the financing. Florida Green Energy Works provides support throughout the process.
Only commercial property is eligible for the program at this time, such as offices, retail, hotels, restaurants, warehouses, churches, hospitals, manufacturing plants and private schools. The maximum financing amount is 100% of available equity in the property. In South Florida, some of the most common projects that easily pay for themselves over time include high-efficiency air conditioning, window tinting, LED lighting, and solar reflective roof paint. A detailed list of eligible improvements can be found here.
Bottom line savings.
Our goal is a healthy, sustainable, and thriving community, and making West Palm Beach buildings more energy-efficient is a key part of that strategy. The goal of the PACE program is to reduce energy consumption of participating buildings by 20%. This typically ensures that the savings in utility expenses are more than sufficient to pay the annual assessment on the property — it may even save you more money!
Contractors who regularly work on energy-consuming building systems such as HVAC, plumbing, roofing, lighting, and solar are encouraged to register with the program to make financing available to their customers. Registration is simple through the program website.
DOE Better Buildings Challenge
The City of West Palm Beach has recently joined the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge – first in Florida – and would like owners of all types of property to be our partners. The Better Buildings Challenge is a voluntary national leadership initiative to reduce building portfolios’ energy use by 20% or more by 2020 and to showcase energy-saving solutions and results. The Better Buildings Challenge is a great opportunity for property owners and our city to gain national recognition for the innovation, strategic investment, and efforts to improve quality of life underway in our community. The city’s PACE program is an option for financing improvements that can help buildings reach energy conservation goals, but owners also may choose to participate in the programs separately.
Even businesses that do not own property can participate in our community’s sustainability efforts. Through the Green Business Certification program, businesses can improve their operating practices and get recognition for their efforts.
Click on the links above to access more information and take action on the RenewPACE program.
Questions? West Palm Beach residents and businesses are welcome to contact the Office of Sustainability by telephone at (561) 804-4994 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.