Lucas County PACE program benefits homeowners

The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority’s pilot program to expand Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing to homeowners has “brokered more than $400,000 in loans to 39 dwellings,” The Toledo Blade reports. Elana Echols used the program to finance a new, energy-efficient furnace, and “said the lower energy bills she paid during the winter offset the higher amount on her property tax,” according to the article. Port authority leaders “are now working to expand the residential PACE program to a statewide initiative.” Columbus, Cleveland, Toledo, Akron and Canton have already signed on to participate. Paul Toth, outgoing president and CEO of the port authority, “said he believes the full program will be up and running by the end of the year.” For more, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency, Project Finance, State Updates

The City of Shelby approves new 2.5 MW solar system

On August 5, 2019, the City of Shelby passed legislation to construct a solar energy project that was more than two years in the making. Shelby entered into a series of agreements with AEP OnSite Partners, LLC for a 2.5 MW solar array which will be located on 14 acres of property. The power produced by the solar facility will serve 3 percent to 4 percent of the City’s overall load. The solar facility will also help the City shave energy during peak periods. John Ensman, the City's director of utilities, highlighted the benefits of adding solar generation to the City’s electric system. "The benefits of having solar behind our meter is the effect of having a generator behind the meter," Ensman said. "It's another source of energy sitting there to help reduce the cost of energy for the community of Shelby. The realized rate is phenomenal when you start factoring in the savings you have for capacity and transmission; that's where the true cost savings come into play." It is estimated that solar facility will result in approximately $3 million in savings over the next 10 years as part of the project agreement. If all goes to plan, the solar field will be operational by mid-December 2019. For more, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, State Updates

Green joins Akron-Summit County ESID

Local businesses in the City of Green will have access to grant funding for energy improvements, now that the city has entered into the Akron-Summit County Energy Special Improvement District (ESID), CantonRep.com reports. Councilman and intergovernmental and utilities committee chair Stephan Dyer said joining the ESID will allow businesses to apply for the funding for projects such as energy efficient lighting or roofing upgrades. Additionally, Summit County will be able to finance a light bulb replacement project for a county property in Green. For more, read the full article.

 

Energy Efficiency, Project Finance, State Updates

Brooklyn uses NOPEC grants for two LED lighting upgrade projects

The City of Brooklyn is using grants from the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council (NOPEC) to fund two LED lighting upgrade projects, creating energy cost savings, Cleveland.com reports. Mayor Katie Gallagher said $39,000 from a 2017 NOPEC award is being used to upgrade street pole lighting on its main thoroughfares, involving 187 lights. Additionally, a 2018 $37,000 award will be put toward a “$50,000 lighting upgrade taking place at the John M. Coyne Recreation Center,” according to the article. That project will include “rec center lights, outdoor lighting in the rec center and pavilion lights in the parks.” Gallagher said projects such as these that reduce costs benefit the residents of Brooklyn “because then we can reallocate those savings to something else that they see directly in other services.” For more, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency, Project Finance, State Updates

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
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