The challenges we face in New Jersey as a result of climate change are significant, and so therefore are the opportunities. The experience of Superstorm Sandy showed us just how ill-prepared we are for the more frequent recurrence of extreme weather; and how important it is that we set an example for taking action to mitigate our own greenhouse gas emissions, as other states are doing around us. And there’s also no doubt about the urgency of it — as you can see from this remarkable video:
Developing our crowdfunding campaign is giving us an extraordinary opportunity to explore using PACE to revitalize New Jersey communities. By itself, PACE is an innovative business model that creates jobs and economic development while providing the ultimate tool to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects on private properties. But leveraging PACE for community development is where the real payoff is, that is to say, for the benefit of the community as a whole.
New Jersey PACE is proud to be partnering with the upcoming Intersolar Summit – New Jersey taking place on March 20th at the Sheraton Edison Hotel. Through our partnership we are able to provide Discounted Registration to NJPACE Alliance members and CRCS supporters.
Under the slogan “80% Renewable Electricity by 2050 – What does it mean today?”, the Intersolar Summit New Jersey will thoroughly assess the current business climate, future market prospects and feasibility of the aggressive renewable energy targets recently announced. Moreover, delegates will gain an in-depth understanding of the latest policy updates presented by local opinion leaders and receive insights on most up-to-date solutions and technological innovations for the PV market.The preliminary agenda can be found here.
Confirmed high-level speakers include
- New Jersey State Senator Bob Smith
- New York State Senator Kevin S. Parker
- Honorable New Jersey Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula
- Richard Lawrence, Executive Director, Executive Director, North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP)
- Dennis Wilson, President, Mid-Atlantic Solar Energy Industries Association (MSEIA)
- Lyle Rawlings, Vice President New Jersey, Mid-Atlantic Solar Energy Industries Association (MSEIA)
- Michael Trahan, Executive Director, Solar Connecticut
- Tom Thompson, Board Member, Solar Energy Business Association of New England (SEBANE)
- Darren Hammell, Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer, Princeton Power Systems
- Dr. Richard Perez, Professor, University of Albany
- Thomas Plagemann, Executive Vice President of Capital Markets, Vivint Solar
Our 2013 Annual Report is designed to convey our vision, and provide an account of the progress we have made toward achieving that vision, in developing the NJPACE program in New Jersey. (Click the title of this entry for a link to the fully report.)
A new report, based on a survey of 288 cities of 30,000+ across the country, shows that America’s Mayors strongly support expanding energy efficiency and renewables in their communities.
Some key findings:
- Many mayors anticipate further growth in the deployment of new energy technologies in cities. Two-thirds (67%) of the 288 cities participating in this survey expect the use of new energy technologies to increase over the next five years, with more than one in five cities (21%) in this survey expecting the increase to be “significant.”
- Nearly a quarter of Mayors assigned a priority to retrofitting commercial/industrial buildings (after improving municipal buildings, providing energy audits, and improving energy-related building codes)
Trenton, N.J., Monday, January 13, 2014: At the very last moment, the NJ State Senate took up and passed Assembly Bill 3898 (an identical version of S2632, introduced by Senator Bob Smith at the beginning of 2013). In an associated statement, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee notes that “this bill provides a mechanism for the financing, by municipalities, of water conservation, storm shelter construction, and flood and hurricane resistance projects, and expands the “clean energy special assessment,” established in current law pursuant to P.L.2011, c.187 (N.J.S.A.40:56-1.4 et al.), into the “clean energy and storm resistance special assessment.”
The bill now heads to the Governor’s office for approval.
In an article highlighted on NJSpotlight as part of an end-of-the-year series of reflections by former NJ governors, Governor Jim Florio writes:
A relatively new program — PACE, which stands for “Property Assessed Clean Energy” — has taken hold in places like Connecticut, California, and Florida and is literally funding thousands of necessary energy efficiency and green energy projects with private capital. And a project in Livingston, New Jersey, is now in its early stages.
The essence of a PACE program is its use of a municipal special property tax assessment to attach the financing to the property, not the owner. This assessment mechanism uses a municipal-government power, but does not cost the municipality a dime. Typically, these projects more than pay for themselves through energy savings, and they provide greater self-sufficiency and reliability, as well as more comfortable and more resilient buildings.
Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing is a mechanism that allows energy efficiency and renewable energy projects to be financed at reasonable rates. PACE works by attaching a special assessment to the property, not a liability to the owner. The funding is then repaid over the life of the installed equipment, anywhere from 5 – 20 years. Using a property tax assessment has many benefits:
- The senior position allows lenders to offer low interest rates because the property is collateral, not the installed equipment.
- Energy efficiency upgrades and renewable energy installations have been hindered by high up-front costs. PACE financing spreads the cost over the useful life of the equipment, which provides savings that exceed cost on an annual basis.
- The obligation is attached to the property, not the owner, making it easy to invest in energy projects even if the owner plans on selling the property.
PACE is clearly a practical example of a “regenerative community solution”: it creates jobs, energy efficiency, and sustainable improvements to property, especially the enormous amount of commercial and industrial property now vacant or underutilized in New Jersey. We’ve chosen to focus our efforts on C&I properties, but we anticipate that residential PACE will be reinstated federally as well. (For an explanation of the issues with Residential PACE, see “National groups submit more than 38000 comments on residential-pace,” at our NJ PACE web site, www.NJPACE.net.)
CRCS has devised and developed the NJ PACE program as a statewide public-private-nonprofit initiative. The program requires municipal approval, along with the participation of private lenders, energy contractors, and property owners. The Center views it as an integral part of its mission to educate, advocate, and implement this kind of program, which once launched will be managed by a separate company, NJ PACE, LLC (with 20% of profits returned to the nonprofit entity).