Eau Claire County unanimously passed an ordinance on property assessed clean energy financing or PACE, on April 6. PACE loans provide an effective way for commercial building owners to obtain low-cost, long-term financing with no up-front cost for clean energy upgrades so that, over time, they save more on their energy bills than they pay for the loan. PACE loans are financed either by third-party private banks and financers or by local governments to finance energy efficiency, renewable energy and water conservation improvements.
A new initiative by the Wisconsin Counties Association, League of Municipalities and Green Tier Legacy Communities working with a number of parties is moving forward to create a PACE Commission, administered by a nonprofit, to ensure that PACE adoption statewide is uniform, with a model ordinance, and that the administrative burden to counties of imposing special charges, collecting payments, etc. is minimized. For information about this new Wisconsin initiative, see this fact sheet. The City of Milwaukee’s PACE Financing program website provides good information. Their program is well-established and expanding with the help of a federal loan.