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 Governor Crist signs PACE in to Law

On Thursday, May 27, 2010, Governor Charlie Crist signed HB 7179 in to law.  The legislation allows local governments to establish Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs.  The legislation took effect with the Governor’s approval.  Local governments, after passing an ordinance or adopting a resolution, can loan property owners money to make energy conservation and efficiency, renewable energy or wind resistance improvements to their property and then repay the loans through a non-ad valorem assessment on their property tax bills.  Republican and Democratic leaders supported the bill saying that it would help homeowners afford renewable energy.

Wind resistance improvement, which includes, but is not limited to:

  • Improving the strength of the roof deck attachment
  • Creating a secondary water barrier to prevent water intrusion
  • Installing hurricane-resistant shingles
  • Installing gable-end bracing
  • Reinforcing roof-to-wall connections
  • Installing storm shutters
  • Installing impact-resistant glazing
  • Installing hurricane-resistant doors

The legislation finds that all improved properties not protected from wind damage by wind resistance improvements contribute to the burden affecting all improved property resulting from potential wind damage. The new law declares improved properties that have been retrofitted with energy-related or wind resistance qualified improvements receive the special benefit of reducing the property’s burden from energy consumption or potential wind damage. Further, the law declares that the installation and operation of qualifying improvements not only benefits the affected properties, but assists in fulfilling the goals of the state’s energy and hurricane mitigation policies.

The PACE program is an innovative way for Florida’s property owners and governments to work together to increase Florida’s energy efficiency and promote energy conservation and protection from wind damage.  Funding for Florida’s proposed PACE program comes from proceeds of a revenue bond issuance.

 The PACE legislation was the last bill to pass during the 2010 Legislative Session.  There is substantial interest throughout the state from county commissioners, town mayors, state representatives, as well as solar energy contractors, air-conditioning companies, banks and many more in the new law.  House Majority leader Adam Hasner has suggested holding a PACE Summit where all stakeholders can come together and learn how to best implement the program in their area.  The faster the summit happens, the sooner jobs will be created, precious resources conserved, renewable energy promoted, and carbon footprint reduced — all with no impact on the pocketbooks of the citizens of Florida.

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