New law establishes nation’s first statewide PACE program

Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter signed House Bill 1328, known as the New Energy Jobs Creation Act, along with a number of other clean energy bills, at a ceremony in Denver Friday afternoon.
The jobs bill sets up the nation’s first statewide Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) district, called the Colorado New Energy Improvement District. It will offer clean energy financing to homeowners throughout Colorado by allowing them to add a special assessment to their property taxes to pay off the cost of the improvements over time.
The bill also allows a county to participate in the statewide district, rather than setting up local districts to manage the program. Under state legislation approved in 2008, a county would have had to create its own separate district and seek voter approval to issue its own bonds to finance it.
The bill establishes a nine-member governing board and authorizes the district to issue up to $800 million in bonds to capitalize the loan program.
Last month, county commissioners began discussing the possible establishment of a Clean Energy Finance District and related energy loan program. It would have allowed the county to seek voter approval to issue bonds against federal and state grants or private funding sources to operate the local loan program.
Homeowners could then apply for fixed-interest loans for qualified energy improvements, such as renewable energy installations and a variety of energy efficiency improvements. Loans would paid back over a period of time as a special assessment on the borrower’s property tax bill.
Through the Colorado New Energy Improvement District, homeowners will be able to borrow money for energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements to their property, and pay the debt back over a period of up to 20 years on their annual property tax bill. Only those homeowners who borrow from the fund will see the added assessment line on their tax bill.
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