The Ecology Center works to launch and/or promote programs that help property-owners fund energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades. One such program is PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy). We help cities and counties set up districts to administer PACE programs across Michigan.
PACE allows property owners to use a property-tax mechanism to finance energy improvements without incurring upfront costs, and at no cost to the public. In partnership with Lean & Green Michigan and the Southeast Michigan Regional Energy Office, the Ecology Center holds training programs for architects, builders and contractors at programs around the state to understand PACE can help make their commercial buildings more energy efficient.
PACE allows building owners to finance projects supporting efficiency in both energy and water consumption and renewable energy.
In 2010, the legislature passed Michigan’s PACE statute, which allows local units of government to establish PACE districts in their communities. So far, nine counties and three cities in Michigan have taken advantage of the legislation. The counties include some of the state’s most populous including Wayne, Macomb, Washtenaw, Saginaw and Genesee, as well as large cities in Oakland County, including Southfield, Royal Oak and Rochester Hills. Eaton, Grand Traverse, Huron and Ingham counties also have partnered with Lean & Green Michigan to establish PACE districts. Ann Arbor also has its own publicly financed district.
Lean & Green Michigan is the name of the statewide PACE program and public-private partnership created by Levin Energy Partners, a company founded to promote clean energy strategies in Michigan. Levin has tailored a single PACE model for whole state so property owners, contractors and lenders only have one set of rules to follow. This model relies on private capital, although local governments are also permitted to issue bonds.
'Community Solar' is a way for groups of people or businesses to purchase shares in a renewable energy system not located on their property. This allows increased investment in solar because it opens up options for those with site issues (too shady, wrong orientation, etc.) or those who do not own their property. It also helps overcome the high cost of installing a full solar energy system. Ann Arbor's Climate Action Plan encourages these types of projects, but public utilities like DTE are only allowed to offer community solar programs as pilot projects when approved by the Michigan Public Service Commission. The Ecology Center is helping establish these pilot projects and working to remove barriers to community solar projects.
Published on January 19, 2017