Changes Would Promote Lender & Investor Confidence in Program
Contact: Katie Laning Niebaum
Little Rock, AR – Bipartisan legislation has been introduced in the Arkansas General Assembly that would help more property owners access financing for energy efficiency, water efficiency and renewable energy improvements, the Arkansas Advanced Energy Association (AAEA) announced today.
The Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) ACT of 2013 authorized the voluntary creation of energy improvement districts to fund loans for projects by interested property owners. The initiative has demonstrated its value with several projects currently in development but technical corrections, as proposed in HB2026, would help bring several of those projects to closure and stimulate greater market demand. Stakeholders say the changes in current law are needed to instill lender and investor confidence in the PACE program.
Rep. Warwick Sabin (D-Little Rock) and Sen. Lance Eads (R-Springdale) are the lead sponsors of HB2026. Original cosponsors are Senator Uvalde Lindsey (D-Fayetteville) and Representatives Rick Beck (R-Center Ridge), Greg Leding (D-Fayetteville), Clarke Tucker (D-Little Rock), David Whitaker (D-Fayetteville), and Jeff Williams (R-Springdale).
“Pulaski County recognized PACE’s potential early on,” Rep. Sabin said. “I am proud to champion this measure to help ensure PACE becomes the robust engine of economic growth we know it can be.”
PACE has been a leading priority for AAEA and its members since the advanced energy business community helped secure its passage in 2013. Since that time, AAEA has worked closely with officials managing the state’s two existing energy improvement districts – Energy Improvement District 1 encompassing the cities of Fayetteville and Springdale, and Pulaski County Energy Improvement District. Other communities, particularly those in rural Arkansas, are looking to form their own districts to take advantage of this economic development tool.
“We greatly appreciate this bipartisan group of legislators for their leadership and commitment to PACE, which has the potential to generate significant job growth and energy savings across the state,” said Katie Laning Niebaum, AAEA executive director. “AAEA and its members will continue to work with legislators to highlight the positive impact of PACE projects in our state.”
- Increases the opportunity for Arkansas property owners to reduce energy and water costs and invest their savings elsewhere;
- Expands options for private financing of energy and water improvements, especially for rural Arkansans;
- Limits risk for lenders and investors by securing the loan with tax assessments on the owner’s property;
- Enhances the value of real property; and
- Promotes job creation and energy independence.
Key provisions of HB2026:
- Ensures statutory language is more consistent with existing general improvement district statutes; and
- Explicitly allows for negotiation with the private sector for private collection of assessments as a way to reduce government-processing costs associated with financing projects.
The Arkansas Advanced Energy Association (AAEA) is the business voice for advanced energy in Arkansas. AAEA is dedicated to growing Arkansas’s economy through expanded utilization of advanced energy technologies, including energy efficiency, demand response, natural gas electric generation, solar, wind, hydro, nuclear, electric vehicles, alternative fuels and smart grid. These are innovations that make our energy supply more secure, clean and affordable. Visit arkansasadvancedenergy.com, and find us on Facebook and Twitter.