NJPACE: A Homegrown Success Story?

We’re committed to a future that has New Jersey PACE as a local success story in the making. Working back from this future, what will this look like, and what will it mean for New Jersey?

Let’s imagine what New Jersey might look like in ten years with PACE.

That’s 2024, and what it could look like is an additional $1 billion in private, long-term investment in making New Jersey a cleaner, more sustainable, and more resilient place.

There’s no doubt that this is the place we should be investing our dollars, that is, strengthening our infrastructure, in a way that’s beneficial for now and for the future.

Energy conservation pays. The average PACE energy efficiency project cuts 30% off the property’s energy consumption. That’s 30% that’s currently being wasted, and that’s 30% of the energy bill back in the owner’s pocket.

Solar is not only cleaner; it’s also cheaper. And PACE provides a no-money-down option for commercial and industrial sites, as well as institutional and multifamily properties.

Greater resiliency is also essential. We’re facing increasingly extreme weather events, along with sheer sea-level rise, which would lead to crippling much of NJ’s tourism industry.

$1 Billion in new private, long-term capital investment. That’s $100 million every year for ten years. That’s a lot of new jobs. And it’s a pretty decent downpayment on a cleaner future for everyone. It adds back just about as much as we have lost in the clean energy industry, as a result of dropping out of RGGI and raiding the societal benefit fund to balance the state’s budget. And it’s not costing the taxpayer anything.

This is not magic or pie in the sky. We’re pragmatic idealists. We know this will work, because it is working in other states. One California program expects to lend $250 million to homeowners in 2015 alone. It’s being used in Connecticut to put through over $100 million of new commercial and industrial projects in 2014. What are we waiting for?

We need to get this story out. When policymakers, activists, property owners, and energy services contractors know about PACE they’ll push for it. While those of us on the front lines are obsessed with how to make it work, within the framework of the existing statute, what most people want to know is simply what benefits it provides.

PACE removes the disincentives that face property owners in trying to do “the right thing,” and improve their property’s performance. The savings go right to the bottom line. Literally, PACE financing pays you to become cleaner and more efficient. Who wouldn’t want that?

NJP-OrgCLogo3But we need your help to get the word out. Please share this post with your colleagues and friends, and make a donation at njpace.causevox.com.

What’s standing in the way of making this happen in New Jersey is largely a matter of lack of information.

  • If property owners knew that, without putting out a dime, they could get PACE financing for 20 years or more, to make major energy and resiliency improvements to their properties, saving money from the get-go on the deal — and that New Jersey has legislation enabling this —  they might demand it of their municipal government.
  • If contractors knew they could offer their clients complete financing, that does not even show up as a liability on their balance sheet, for the useful life of the improvements, so that owners are saving money right away — and that New Jersey has legislation enabling this — shouldn’t they just be giving their stuff away to an endless stream of clients?
  • If investors knew that PACE special assessments are highly secure, stable-yield investments lasting for periods greater than ten years — and that New Jersey has legislation enabling this — shouldn’t they be flocking to the place? (Actually, they are. There are a significant number of capital providers in this financial marketplace, with more entering it every day.)
  • If municipalities knew they could use PACE financing as a lure for new companies (“Relocate to our town and we’ll finance 100% of your energy improvements”), as well as a retention benefit for existing ones — and that New Jersey has legislation enabling this — wouldn’t they be clamoring for it?
  • And finally, if communities knew that PACE financing can be leveraged to create local economic development — and that New Jersey has legislation enabling this — wouldn’t they join us in pressing for it at a local level?

Your modest donation to our crowdfunding campaign, njpace.causevox.com, can be leveraged many times over to help us make this happen.

There’s plenty of information on how PACE works, both at our main web site and at our crowdfunding site, so we don’t need to repeat this here. Suffice it to say, it has benefits for everyone, and as far as we can tell, no downsides. Except maybe that it’s a bit complicated, and connected to the property tax system, and involves “government.” We get that. But here’s the deal: we’re using one of the powers of local government, at no cost to the taxpayer, to provide security to investors, financing to property owners, and incentives to contractors, to set us back on the road to a clean energy economy.

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