Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program Information

Weathersfield residents will be asked to approve a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program in a floor vote at Town Meeting.

Weathersfield voters will have the opportunity at Town Meeting on Monday, March 3, 2014 to approve the PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) program to offer homeowners a loan funding option to fund energy-saving weatherization projects and/or installation of renewable energy systems. In order for towns to participate the PACE resolution requires voter approval. PACE is already in effect in the neighboring towns of Cavendish and Hartland.

Vermont Energy Investment Corporation in collaboration with Efficiency Vermont is partnering in the project with:
• Vermont League of Cities and Towns
• Vermont Natural Resources Council
• Vermont Public Interest Research Weathersfield Energy Group
• Vermont Energy Community Action Network
PACE is a voluntary mechanism which allows homeowners to take out loans for eligible energy efficiency improvements. 

There is no cost to the town or to homeowners who do not wish to participate.

PACE allows homeowners to make energy investments in their homes today and pay back the cost over a period of up to 20 years.

Loans start at $3,500, the maximum allowable amount is up to $35,000 which is assessed on the property. This is an investment in a home’s energy efficiency, should the homeowner move the debt stays with the property. Unlike a bank loan PACE is transferred to the new homeowner who continues to make the payments.

The goal of the program is for people to pay for the PACE assessment charges through lowering their energy costs via weatherization, energy improvement or renewable energy systems.

The Town of Weathersfield acts as an agent for PACE and all administrative costs are borne by the borrower not the municipality.

Benefits of the program are:
• Assessment payment fixed for up to 20 years
• no cost to property owners who do not participate
• no cost to town as administrative costs covered by borrowers
• eligible loans pay for home energy improvements, weatherization, whole house systems, space heating, renewable energy systems, solar, wind, etc.
• reduces fuel bills, results in cleaner energy and lowers carbon footprint.
• houses are warmer in winter and cooler in summer

Loans are guaranteed by Middlebury Savings & Loan and are offered by Opportunities Credit Union of Winooski, VT

Applications are made every other month. In cases of default by a homeowner there is a penalty of 1 percent, after three months this increases to eight percent. 

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