North Tonawanda Alderman-at-Large Austin Tylec is proposing legislation that will bring energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements to NT by establishing an Energize NY Open C-PACE financing program.
Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing grants local municipalities the authority to provide property assessed clean energy financing to qualified property owners for the installation of renewable energy systems and energy efficiency measures. PACE provides 100 percent financing provided by the Energy Improvement Corporation, a New York state LDC, for terms of up to 20 years, at a fixed low-interest rate.
Accepted projects include upgrading mechanical systems, new windows, boiler conversions, lighting upgrades and solar panels.
Tylec said he believes solar panel programs are an aspect of the clean energy initiatives that the city should pursue by giving more solar options to residents.
The program currently offered by NYS grants low-interest loans on clean energy upgrades to currently existing commercially-owned buildings and multi-family residential properties. PACE allows for financing on improvements over time without requiring property owners to make a large, upfront investment. Under the current offered PACE program, the property owners who accept a loan offer repay the loan via a special tax that the municipality would charge as they would all other taxes on the property tax bill.
C-PACE, the proposed program that Tylec is seeking support for, aims to make implementation significantly easier for municipalities by rescinding the requirement that they keep track of the special tax on their tax bills. The debt is collected by the EIC which acts as the intermediary between property owners and capital providers.
“The new C-PACE program won’t cost the city anything. There are no administrative costs, no collection enforcement, and no underwriting responsibilities,” said Tylec. “The Oliver Street corridor and River Road are two of the longest streets with the most potential for economic development, but we as city leaders need to provide property owners with the tools to facilitate that growth. This program allows us to give more opportunities to building owners, and moves the city towards a more sustainable and green-friendly community.”
Tylec has been working with Jason Kulaszewski of the UB Regional Institute to take on these clean energy initiatives for the residents and business owners of North Tonawanda. Lumber City Development is one of the agencies in mind that would be able to use PACE 2.0 as a marketing tool to promote more business along NT’s business corridors.
If implemented, North Tonawanda would be the second municipality in Niagara County to approve a PACE agreement with the state.
Tylec said he has facilitated this process over the last six months by meeting with the city’s Common Council, the mayor and the city’s department heads to discuss the initiative.
“It’s been months of productive discussions, but I’m hoping to have the approval of the entire council by summer so our city can start taking advantage of what this program has to offer,” said Tylec.
More information can be found at Commercial.EnergizeNY.org.