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Commonwealth's Counties

Helpful clean energy financing bill advances to full House

A bill that could help localities take advantage of creative clean energy financing mechanisms has successfully passed out of committee and will now be taken up by the full House of Delegates.

HB 654 (Mugler) authorizes the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) to sponsor a statewide clean energy financing program.  More specifically, this legislation would enable DMME to engage with a private entity in order to develop and administer a statewide commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program.

PACE is an innovative financing mechanism that enables low-cost and long-term funding for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation projects.  The appeal of PACE is that it can cover up to 100 percent of a project’s upfront hard and soft costs, and then can be repaid on the property tax bill over a period of up to 30 years, enabling longer payback periods that can be cash flow positive from day one.  PACE financing is repaid as an assessment on the property’s regular tax bill and is processed the same way as other local public benefit assessments (such as sidewalks or sewers).

VACo supports HB 654, which was reported out of the House Counties, Cities and Towns Committee, 19-3, and will be heard on the House floor later this week.

VACo Contact: Chris McDonald, Esq.

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