FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 28, 2013

Contacts: Shelly Baron, 501-537-0190 or
Steve Patterson, 501-537-0190 

Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Initiative (SB 640) would offer financing to property owners for improvements that increase property values and reduce energy costs

(Little Rock, AR) Bipartisan legislation has been introduced in the Arkansas General Assembly to remove obstacles that have discouraged Arkansas property owners from investing in energy efficiency improvements, water conservation improvements and renewable energy projects that increase property values, reduce energy costs and create jobs, the Arkansas Advanced Energy Association (AAEA) announced today.

Sen. David Johnson (D-Little Rock) and Rep. Greg Leding, (D-Fayetteville), who co-chair the Legislative Task Force on Sustainable Building Design and Practices, are the leading sponsors of the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Initiative.  The AAEA has endorsed the PACE Initiative as a voluntary financing option for energy improvements to existing commercial buildings.  The Association predicts that PACE will ignite job expansion in the energy efficiency industry while allowing property owners to improve their cash flow and reduce energy costs.

Other original cosponsors are Senator Jon Woods (R-Springdale), Representatives Jonathan Barnett (R-Siloam Springs), Charles Armstrong (D-Little Rock), Fonda Hawthorne (D-Ashdown), George McGill (D-Fort Smith), Betty Overbey (D-Lamar), Tommy Thompson (D-Morrilton), Warwick Sabin (D-Little Rock), and David Whitaker (D-Fayetteville).

“Over the course of the last year, the legislative task force has heard testimony on numerous energy saving mechanisms, and I am convinced this legislation is the best course for Arkansas,” said Senator Johnson.  “Not only will it improve the efficiency of buildings across the state, but cities, counties, and even the state will be able to create jobs with no added credit risk.”

“Through last year’s hearings, we found that Arkansas property owners face too many obstacles when seeking financing for energy improvements that will help them reduce energy costs and raise their property values, ” said Representative Leding.  “Not only will the PACE Initiative improve the cash flow of property owners, it will also add jobs in the regions that form PACE Districts.”

The PACE Initiative authorizes the voluntary creation of energy improvement districts to fund loans for energy efficiency improvements, water conservation improvements, and renewable energy projects.  These loans are repaid via an annual assessment on a property owner’s property tax bill which stays attached to the property until the loan or lien is repaid.  Loan payments are generally less than the amount of energy savings achieved so most business owners experience an increase in cash flow.  Without financing opportunities, a business owner is burdened with the expense of paying for energy savings projects upfront and on a short term schedule, an obstacle that has stymied many energy savings projects in Arkansas.  

PACE is among several initiatives to be endorsed by AAEA in the current General Assembly session. Most of these initiatives were recommended by working groups of more the 70 industry leaders who met throughout 2012 to discuss ways to expand the advanced energy economy in Arkansas.   

“We especially thank Senator Johnson and Representative Leding for leading what has truly been a collaborative effort among stakeholders to remove one of our state’s greatest barriers to retrofitting existing buildings to improve sustainability and energy efficiency,” said Steve Patterson, Executive Director of AAEA.  “By creating a voluntary PACE program, eligible private property owners in Arkansas will for the first time have access to financing that allows them to recover their energy savings while paying off their loan.”

To read a summary of the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) legislation, click here:

Arkansas Advanced Energy Association is a business group dedicated to growing Arkansas’s economy by expanding our energy workforce and manufacturing base through the increased development, manufacture, and utilization of advanced energy technologies.

The Arkansas Advanced Energy Foundation is the educational affiliate of the AAEA.  The Foundation promotes greater public understanding of advanced energy in Arkansas through research, public education programs and economic and workforce development. The Foundation is dedicated to informing the energy policy debate with well-researched, fact-based data on the advanced energy economy in Arkansas and by providing a public forum where state leaders can address Arkansas’s energy challenges for the future.

New Report Shows Global Economic Impacts of Advanced Energy
A new report released in January 2013 by Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) shows that advanced energy was a $1.1 trillion global market in 2011, larger than pharmaceutical manufacturing worldwide. The first-ever analysis of the advanced energy sector also shows that the market in the U.S. represents a significant part of the nation’s economy, with $132 billion in revenue in 2011, and a 19 percent growth rate estimated for 2012, with U.S. revenue rising to $157 billion. Read the full report here: 

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