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Chippewa County announces new financing tool for energy efficiency & renewable energy improvements

by Melissa on August 24th, 2016

August 29, 2016, Chippewa County, MN – Interest in energy efficiency for buildings and adding renewable energy like solar has been growing in recent years in Chippewa County. A financing tool called Property-Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE, can help adoption of these energy technologies grow even faster.

Available to businesses, farms, multi-family housing, nonprofits, and places of worship in Chippewa County, PACE provides project financing that is repaid as a separate item on property tax assessments for a set period. In this way, PACE eliminates the burden of upfront costs by providing low-cost, long-term financing.

“With PACE, businesses in Chippewa County has an easy way to pay for energy-saving improvements to their buildings.” shared Chippewa County Commissioner David Nordaune.

Examples of potential building improvements that can be financed with PACE are solar arrays, HVAC upgrades, LED lighting, condensing boilers, digital controls, insulation, variable-frequency drive motors, building automation systems, and other water and energy conservation measures.

“PACE financing is different than a traditional loan and will help building owners in Chippewa County overcome several barriers to making energy-related building improvements,” Nordaune continued. “For starters, there are no upfront costs and there is less of a reliance on credit. Also, unlike a loan, when a transfer of ownership of the property takes place, the PACE assessment obligation stays with the property, not the property owner. In addition, PACE assessments can generally be repaid over longer terms than a bank might allow.”

Chippewa County signed a joint powers agreement with the Saint Paul Port Authority authorizing the PACE program. The Saint Paul Port Authority provides the PACE funding and administers all aspects of the program. Chippewa County places the assessment on the property, collects payments each year, and passes money back to the Port Authority.

If people want to learn more about PACE and take action, the Minnesota Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) have an extensive resource page with program details and applications, factsheets, success stories, and frequently asked questions at http://www.cleanenergyresourceteams.org/pace. For general questions about PACE, contact Kristi Fernholz, West Central CERTs Coordinator at the Upper Minnesota Valley Regional Development Commission at 320-.289-1981 x106 or kristi.fernholz@umvrdc.org.

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