Bell featured on Debtwire: PACE financing likely to expand as a result of regulation, securitization

Issued by local government entities, PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) bonds allow residential or commercial property owners to finance energy improvement upgrades to their properties. Bonds may be issued and sold directly to the property owner, to a third-party lender, or to institutional investors. Until recently, as Bricker’s Public Finance Chair Caleb Bell notes in a recent article on Acuris’ Debtwire, PACE bonds have been mostly unregulated with only state and local legal requirements. In California, where stricter lending standards are taking shape, Bell notes, “those protections broaden into the actual ability of the homeowner to repay the loan,” resulting in a “much more solid product.” Bell adds that securitizations are becoming increasingly common in this sector and that commercial PACE financing is “becoming its own unique asset class.” These new developments in standardization and regulation are likely to increase the popularity of PACE bonds with investors.

Economic Development, Energy Efficiency, Financial Incentives, State Updates

Ohio plans to become fourth state to offer residential PACE financing

Joining California, Florida and Missouri, Ohio will soon be the fourth state to offer residential PACE (property assessed clean energy) programs. The City of Bexley in Franklin County and the City of Toledo in Lucas County have authorized agreements with the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority to offer residential PACE (RPACE), allowing homeowners in those cities access to low-interest loans for energy efficiency improvements. Summit County will make RPACE financing available to homeowners in communities that have joined the Akron-Summit County Energy Special Improvement District (ESID), Cleveland.com reports. Homeowners who “are making energy efficiency improvements” to “HVAC, furnace, roofing, windows and doors, insulation” and other systems “can finance the up-front costs and then pay back the loans through a voluntary assessment” on their property tax bill, according to the article. Residential PACE is expected to roll out statewide by the end of 2019. For more on Summit County RPACE financing, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency, Project Finance, State Updates

Delphos kicks off Energy District with city project

Businesses, government, healthcare, and educational facilities in Delphos have access to Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing now that the city is an Energy District, the Delphos Herald reports. Safety Service Director Shane Coleman “signed the paperwork for an $8,000 loan . . . for an energy-efficient lighting project at the water treatment plant,” kicking off the Energy District, according to the article. The district is sponsored by “the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority through its Betterbuildings Northwest Ohio [BBNWO]”; financing will come from the BBNWO’s PACE program. Eligible projects include upgrades to energy efficiency for lighting, HVAC, and refrigeration, among others. For more, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency, Financial Incentives, Project Finance, State Updates

Columbus Business First unpacks Bricker’s Energy Exchange event, EV charging station

Spotlighting the future state of electric vehicles both in Central Ohio and statewide, Columbus Business First summarized the recent discussion that took place at Bricker & Eckler’s May 9, 2019, "Energy Exchange" event. The event, hosted by the firm’s energy attorneys for industry professionals, focused this time around on electric vehicles and their potential to propel Ohio as a nationwide leader in advanced and renewable technology.

How electric vehicles could change Ohio’s power grid” illustrates that electric vehicle adoption and usage is on the rise in Ohio. A few catalysts to this increase include the availability of convenient charging stations, funding incentives for both vehicles and charging stations and decreasing costs of the technology. Locally, enhancing the appeal of “going electric” has been a collaborative effort. Participating in a panel discussion at the event were representatives from the Ohio House of Representatives, Smart Columbus and ChargePoint, all of whom described the importance of both public and private investment to continue development in this area.

At the conclusion of the event, Bricker tangibly demonstrated its commitment to supporting the growth of electric vehicles in downtown Columbus, announcing that the firm will install an electric vehicle charging station on its property this summer. Bricker is the first Ohio law firm to do so and hopes this endeavor will encourage other businesses to join the effort to advance this technology for local citizens.

Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Smart Cities

Ohio ranked third in 12-state Midwest region for clean energy jobs

Analysis by the Clean Energy Trust and nonpartisan Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) shows “more than 112,000 Ohioans work in clean energy industries,” with 4,975 jobs added in the last year, according to a recent article in The Daily Reporter. Clean energy jobs now “make up 2.1 percent of all jobs in Ohio” according to Clean Jobs Midwest, the article reports. Energy efficiency led all clean energy sectors in the state, “employing 81,676 workers — accounting for seven in 10 of all clean energy workers.” Micaela Preskill, E2 Midwest states advocate, said the 2019 U.S. Energy & Employment Report “clearly proves that clean energy in the Midwest is not just a trend, it is driving economic growth and opportunities across the region.” For more, read the full article (subscription required), or click here for the report.

Economic Development, Energy Efficiency, Environmental, State Updates

Campbell school district plans solar project

The Campbell City School District will lease approximately 10 acres to a solar company as part of a project “to cut its facility costs and carbon footprint,” The Vindicator reports. The district “has spent the past six months working with Guaranteed Clean Energy of Dublin, Ohio,” whose “Energy for Education” program “helps public entities effectively partner with sustainability companies,” according to the article. Campbell Superintendent Matthew Bowen “said the district estimates the new solar program alone will save $34,399 annually.” Additionally, the district “will use the program to invest in new LED lighting, which is projected to save $67,172 annually.” For more, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency, Environmental, Renewable Energy, State Updates

Energy innovation center will anchor OSU’s west campus innovation district

A multi-phase project to create an Energy Advancement and Innovation Center at The Ohio State University (OSU) “could be the glue” that holds the school’s emerging west campus innovation district together, Columbus Business First reports. The project was part of the bidding process for OSU’s energy management partnership with Engie and Axium (see our April 12, 2017 blog post). Serdar Tufekci, CEO of Ohio State Energy Partners — an entity formed by OSU and Engie — said “the innovation district is the ‘perfect fit’” for what his group wants to accomplish, “a place to take the research ideas from the Interdisciplinary Research Facility and ‘turn them into innovative products or processes that can have an impact.” For more, read the full article

Energy Efficiency, State Updates

Painesville energy improvements funded by NOPEC grants

Three separate grants from the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council will enable Painesville Township to “begin multiple energy conservation improvements” in government buildings, The News-Herald reports. The grants, for approximately $50,000 each, “have been scheduled yearly from 2018 to 2020,” according to the article. Painesville will make improvements to its fire stations including replacement of HVAC systems with more efficient models and insulating ceilings in the bays. The Township Hall’s indoor lighting will be replaced with LED bulbs to lower energy usage. For more, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency, Project Finance, State Updates

Two Cincinnati-area health care firms awarded $11.7M in clean-air financing

The Ohio Air Quality Development Authority approved $11.7 million in clean air financing in awards to two Greater Cincinnati health care companies, the Cincinnati Business Courier reports. Both firms will use “property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing in coordination with their lenders,” according to the article. JZB Realty Holdings Co. “received approval for up to $4.7 million in PACE financing for energy efficiency improvements and the addition of a solar array” on the roof of Forest Hills Care Center in Anderson Township. Clermont Health Realty “was approved for up to $7 million for energy efficiency financing” that will be used for an HVAC system, lighting, windows and other features of a new skilled nursing facility in Amelia. For more, read the full article

Energy Efficiency, Financial Incentives, Renewable Energy, State Updates

Bricker attorney Caleb Bell to moderate C-PACE discussion at PACENation Summit

On April 4, 2019, Bricker & Eckler attorney Caleb Bell will moderate a PACENation Summit panel discussion entitled, “C-PACE Project From Start to Finish.” Participants will dig into the details of a C-PACE project from multiple angles: origination, administration, financing and more. For additional information, visit the event page.

Economic Development, Energy Efficiency, Project Finance
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