Legislation aims to restore PACE

Legislators introduced the PACE Protection Act of 2011.

Legislators introduced the PACE Protection Act of 2011.

Federal legislation was introduced Wednesday to reinstate — and protect — an energy efficiency financing program that stalled in the summer of 2010.

The Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE, program allows participants to use low-interest government financing to install solar panels and make energy efficiency improvements. They use proceeds raised by local governments in bond sales to make such improvements with little or no upfront costs. The funds are paid back through long-term property tax assessments.

The program encourages home owners to pursue clean-energy upgrades to their homes to add equity and lower their utility bills, which in turns supports companies doing the work.

The California Energy Commission in July 2010 canceled $30 million in awards that would have supported PACE programs in 23 counties and 184 cities, including an award of about $1.3 million that would have gone to Sacramento and Yolo counties.

The PACE Protection Act of 2011, introduced Wednesday, would prevent Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and other federal residential and commercial mortgage lending regulators from adopting policies that “contravene established PACE laws on the local and state levels.”

Read more in the Sacramento Business Journal.

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