SB 330 would enable Montana cities and counties to offer Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs to their residents and businesses. PACE is an innovative clean energy and energy efficiency financing mechanism that has become increasingly popular around the country with 32 states now offering the program.
Many Montana homes and businesses are old, inefficient buildings in need of upgrades, but it’s a challenge to find financing for the upfront cost. PACE is a way for Montanans to finance the upfront cost of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation improvements on buildings they own, and offset the payments with their utility bill savings. These are projects that will save much more money than they cost in the long run, but where the up front costs act as a barrier.
With PACE assessments, 100% of a project’s costs are funded by private capital providers. Projects are facilitated by the local government, which places an assessment on the building’s property tax, and the costs are repaid over a term of up to 20 years. This type of financing has been used effectively in the US for decades to fund improvements to private properties that meet a public purpose, such as water and sewer systems, sidewalks, and street lighting.