Representatives of nearly 350 businesses from around the country lobbied federal lawmakers this week to pass legislation to revive PACE programs, which make green, energy-saving improvements more affordable for companies and homeowners.
For months, Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs in 22 states have been stalled due to guidance issued from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) over concerns that PACE loans would take senior position as priority liens over existing mortgages, increasing risk for lenders and underwriters. PACE programs allow commercial and residential property owners to finance energy retrofits and then repay the financing over 20 years via an annual assessment on their property tax bill.
“In PACE, we have an engine for creating new retrofit jobs in every community in America,” said Jason Hartke, vice president of national policy at the U.S. Green Building Council, the primary organizer of the protest. “We urge Congress to put jobs first and move quickly to ensure that local governments can use this innovative investment tool.”
A letter, sent to all 535 members of Congress, urged passage of legislation before the end of this congressional session in late December.
“Congress cannot allow the FHFA to stand in the way of clean energy jobs and lower utility bills for millions of Americans,” the business leaders wrote in the letter. “We urge you to act expediently to pass legislation that would allow the PACE pilot programs to proceed--putting Americans back to work immediately and helping our consumers do the right thing--make property investments to reduce their carbon footprint and save money.”