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PACE program for home energy efficiency back on track

Source: VT Digger, 7/25/11, by Taylor Dobbs

Solar panels in East Montpelier. VTD/Josh Larkin

“Vermont will be the first state in the nation to move forward with the federal Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program, which will allow homeowners to borrow money from municipalities to make renewable energy or energy efficiency improvements to their homes. Homeowners would pay back the loans through an assessment on their property tax bills. The Federal Housing Finance Agency effectively put the program on hold last year due to concerns about repayment in the event of a mortgage foreclosure. At that point, 26 states had approved some form of the program. Last week, legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives to force the Federal Housing Finance Agency to withdraw warnings about the program. Residents who foreclose on their mortgages must pay property taxes first, then pay any overdue assessments, then mortgages. Because the PACE program increases assessments, the agency had concerns about homeowners’ abilities to pay mortgages if they had to first make PACE payments. Vermont’s energy bill this year moved PACE assessments behind mortgages in payment priorities, and federal authorities approved this change. So far, Vermont is the only state to put PACE back on track. The funding for the program would be secured through a bank or group of banks, and the loans would be administered by municipalities. In order qualify for the program, communities must vote to create a PACE district. Peter Adamczyk, energy finance and development manager for the Vermont Energy Investment Corp., said he expects the state to issue a request for proposal for the funding before town meeting day. Adamczyk said he is optimistic about the program’s adoption once the state has found interested lenders…” Full Story: PACE program for home energy efficiency back on track PDF of Story: PACE program for home energy efficiency back on track

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