Pennsylvania Approves C-PACE Program
On June 12, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed a new, bipartisan bill that will help commercial and industrial property owners finance upgrades for energy efficiency, water conservation, and renewable energy systems. Under the legislation, this bill will enable Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE).
Similar to the 33 other states who already run the program, it will be voluntary and will allow municipal governments to set up energy improvement districts, where private lenders can give money to commercial, industrial, or agricultural property owners for eligible improvements to buildings. C-PACE programs are growing in success, as last year these commercial and industrial properties accounted for over a quarter of U.S. energy consumption and about $521 million in investment through these programs, according to a 2017 Department of Energy report. C-PACE, however, can be time-consuming and complex for local governments to administer, especially in states like Pennsylvania, which is fragmented with 67 counties and 2,562 municipalities. The new legislation does not prescribe how the program will be administered.
The bill, SB 234 moved through Pennsylvania’s legislature with broad support this year -- getting the approval of the state Senate (42-8) in January and House (163-28) at the end of May. While Pennsylvania’s Department of Labor and Industry does not track clean energy jobs, the Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance found that the state’s clean energy sector is growing, and most jobs (about 55,000) were in fact related to energy efficiency.