Guidelines released for energy efficiency and improvement program

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Communities will soon be able to participate in a new program that will provide a mechanism for owners of commercial buildings to finance energy improvements and energy efficiency projects.
Under the program, called Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE), communities can choose to offer financing for energy-related improvements through a betterment assessment on a commercial property.
The program will allow commercial property owners to have a longer period, up to 20 years, to pay for qualifying energy upgrades. When a property is sold, a lien will stay on the property and be transferred to the subsequent owner.
Legislation enabling the PACE program for commercial properties was passed in August 2016 as a part of omnibus energy legislation. The program will be administered by MassDevelopment and the Department of Energy Resources.
Municipalities may opt in to the program by a majority vote of the city or town council or the board of selectmen.
Properties eligible for PACE financing will include commercial buildings, industrial buildings and multi-family buildings with five or more units. Improvements eligible for PACE financing include energy efficiency upgrades, renewable energy, and extension of existing natural gas distribution to a property.
According to MassDevelopment, the benefits of participating in the program for a municipality could include economic development, business growth, job creation and reduced energy consumption.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 33 states have authorized PACE legislation, and 16 states already have active PACE programs. States may enable communities to offer PACE financing for residential properties, commercial properties or both.
For more information on the PACE program and to review the draft guidelines, visit The comment period ends on Sept. 10.