Galloway bill would help property owners afford energy upgrades, create jobs
HARRISBURG, PA – State Rep. John Galloway, D-Bucks, has introduced a bill designed to help property owners upgrade to renewable energy such as solar and wind power.
House Bill 2644 would create the Property Assessed Clean Energy Program that would allow property owners and businesses to fund renewable and/or energy efficiency improvements through an assessment on their property tax bills.
“In essence, instead of going to a bank, property owners and businesses would secure a low-interest loan from their townships or municipalities, and repay that loan through a voluntary assessment on their property tax bill,” Galloway said. “Installing solar panels or high-efficiency furnaces is expensive. By financing these upgrades through property tax bills, property owners could avoid up-front installation costs of renewable energy, making going green that much easier.”
The need for the legislation was recognized by Falls Township officials who, working with AE Polysilicon and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, had attempted to create a municipal finance program for solar projects in 2009. The township was advised by DEP that the plan was not feasible due to current state law that prohibits such financing arrangements.
Galloway said the goals of the program are to:
- Provide capital at the lowest possible cost for the purpose of supporting energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in residential and commercial buildings;
- Stimulate local job growth;
- Foster energy savings for businesses and residents;
- Protect the environment by using renewable energy.
California was the first state to pass legislation to implement a PACE program in 2008. Since then, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin have followed suit. More information about PACE can be found at www.renewfund.com.