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Pa. legislator re-introduces bill to allow PACE programs

Pennsylvania Rep. John Galloway re-introduced legislationOct. 3 to authorize municipalities and municipal agencies to offer propertyassessed clean energy, or PACE, programs.

The Property Assessed Clean Energy Program Act, or H.B.2380, would authorize municipalities to offer public and private funding forsustainable energy loans. Eligible properties with onsite renewable energysystems can apply through the program for financing and pay back the loansthrough an assessment on their annual property taxes. PACE programs are ineffect in 19 states and the District of Columbia, according to PACENation, anadvocacy group for PACE financing.

PACE programs have become popular in part because the loanrepayment obligation stays with the property.

"As such, the benefits and liability would be amortizedand tied to the property itself once the improvements are completed and notbecome a personal liability of the property owner should they choose to sellthe property before the investment is recouped," according to a Galloway circulated March10, 2015.

The PACE program would support different types ofconservation and efficiency improvement projects for commercial and residentialcustomers including water efficiency and renewable energy projects. Green wetweather infrastructure improvements, such as green roofs, planters alongsidewalks and parking lots, and other natural systems to recycle stormwaterrunoff are also eligible for the PACE program, according to bill. The act alsoauthorizes municipalities to issue an ordinance and administer a low-costalternative energy financing program.

Galloway, who is the Democratic chair of the House Committeeon Labor and Industry, had sponsored similar legislation in 2013 that got stuckbefore the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.

Though the committee has no scheduled meetings at this time,the state House will be in session until Nov. 15 before breaking until nextJanuary.

The Pennsylvania Senate Environmental Resources and EnergyCommittee, scheduled to meet Oct. 11, will hear a number of renewable bills.Republican Sens. Mario Scavello and David Argall sponsored a bill, S.B. 1343,to limit electric distribution companies to procure solar from only in-stategeneration resources. The state requires 8% of its electric sales by the 2020to 2021 compliance year to come from Tier I renewables, which includes newsolar, wind and other types of renewables. Of the 8%, the state marked aset-aside of 0.5% to come from solar. Before the bill, the state permittedsolar generation from in-state projects as well as out-of-state generation fromprojects in the region managed by PJM Interconnection LLC to qualify toward the solartarget, but the bill limits eligibility to only in-state solar generation.