Thursday, February 27, 2014

Information on Article 4: To Designate Town as Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) District

Questions About the PACE Program? Here are some links and information I found.

PACE Program Description and Guidelines
(I have not included all 11 pages - just the first 2 1/2 to give some idea of the requirements. For full information, go to the links above.)


I. Introduction
In May 2009, the Vermont legislature approved Act 45 (as amended by Act 47 in May 2011), authorizing municipalities to create Property-Assessed Clean Energy (“PACE”) districts. Through creation of a PACE district, a municipality is authorized to fund the costs of installing energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy sources, such as solar photovoltaic panels and solar water heating (“Energy Improvements”) permanently affixed to residential property within the boundaries of the district. Eligible property owners who choose to participate in the program (the “PACE Program”) enter into an agreement with the municipality in which the property owner agrees to make the required assessment payments while they are the owner of the property. The funds advanced by the municipality for the installation of the Energy Improvements are paid back through an assessment on the improved property which is payable in installments and is secured by a lien on the property until the assessment is repaid in full.

The goal of creating a PACE district is to make Energy Improvements more affordable and promote their installation. By advancing the up-front costs of installing Energy Improvements, the PACE Program removes a barrier to greater participation in Vermont’s energy efficiency and renewable energy efforts, thereby promoting energy conservation and climate protection while reducing the participating property owner’s use of fossil fuels.

At the annual or special (circle one) meeting held 201__, the voters of the City/Town of _____________ (“Municipality”) approved a PACE district.

This on ________ __ (Date) , document is designed to provide a comprehensive explanation of the PACE program for the City/Town of _________ (“Municipality”) as approved by the City Council or Select Board (circle one) on _________ (month day, year).

Amendments or changes to this document shall be duly noticed and passed by resolution

II. Program Eligibility
A. Eligible Property Owners

The legal owners of real property within the boundaries of Municipality, who meet the minimum requirements, are eligible to participate in the PACE Program. The minimum eligibility requirements are: property tax payments are current and there have been no delinquent payments for three years prior to application; there are no involuntary liens (e.g., tax, judgment or mechanics liens) on the property; property owner is not in bankruptcy; property is in compliance with applicable housing codes, if any; and owners meet the PACE underwriting criteria established by the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation.

B. Eligible Properties
Dwellings as defined by the federal Truth in Lending Act, meaning a residential structure or mobile home which contains one to four family housing units, or individual units of condominiums or cooperatives, are eligible to participate in the PACE Program so long as property taxes are being paid on the dwelling by the owner of the dwelling. The property cannot be an asset in any pending bankruptcy proceeding.

C. Eligible Energy Improvements
Pursuant to statute, Vermont’s energy efficiency utilities developed a list of eligible energy efficiency projects and make it available to the public on or before July 1 of each year. The list of eligible projects may be found on the Efficiency Vermont website at Generally, Energy Improvements must be permanently attached to the participating property, and must reduce the net energy requirements of the participating property. The cost of the Energy Improvements to be financed through the PACE Program must comply with the Program Parameters set forth in Section IV, below. Only projects installed by contractors normally employed in the business of designing and installing heating, weatherization and renewable energy improvements are eligible.

D. Participating Contractors
Efficiency Vermont and Burlington Electric Department (in Burlington) maintain lists of qualified installation contractors and will provide those lists to the property owner upon request. Installation contractors must be properly insured and appropriately licensed or certified. Energy Efficiency contractors must be certified by the Building Performance Institute as Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® contractors or possess the appropriate propane or fuel oil certification from the State of Vermont Department of Public Safety. The installation of renewable energy improvements must be completed by members of the Vermont Solar & Wind Partnership established by Renewable Energy Vermont.

E. Eligible Costs
Installation and acquisition costs of the Energy Improvements are eligible for financing under the PACE Program. Eligible installation costs may include, but are not limited to, mandatory contributions to the Reserve Fund (discussed in Section V(J) below), energy audit consultations, labor, design, drafting, engineering, permit fees, the PACE application fee and applicable inspection charges. Eligible acquisition costs may include, but are not limited to, the unit price of eligible equipment and any taxes and shipping costs associated with the acquisition. For retrofit projects such as home remodeling, only that portion of the costs used to retrofit existing structures with eligible Energy Improvements or improvements required by applicable health and safety codes in order to install the Energy Improvements are eligible for financing under the PACE Program. Repairs and/or new construction costs do not qualify for financing under the PACE Program except to the extent that such construction is required for the specific type of approved Energy Improvement and does not exceed 50% of the total project cost.

F. Permit and Conformance Requirements
The property owner is required to properly obtain, comply with and keep in effect all permits, licenses and approvals that are required to be obtained from any governmental authority in order to commence and complete installation of the Energy Improvements, and upon request, shall promptly deliver copies of all such permits, licenses and approvals to Municipality or its designated agent. The property owner also must grant Municipality, and its agents and representatives, the right to enter and visit the participating property at reasonable times, after giving reasonable notice to the property owner, for the purposes of observing the installation of the Energy Improvements. Municipality will make reasonable efforts during any site visit to avoid interfering with property owner’s use of the participating property. The property owner shall also allow Municipality, and its agents and representatives, to examine and copy records and other documents of the property owner which relate to the Energy Improvements.

~For the rest of the information, please visit one of the links above..

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