Industries Energy/Green

More clean energy jobs for Virginia

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The U.S. Department of Energy has selected Virginia as the recipient of a $500,000 grant to support clean energy programs in communities across the state.

The grant, managed by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME), will advance low-cost financing for private sector clean energy investments and could lead to more than 700 jobs.

“PACE financing has tremendous potential for improving energy efficiency and creating new opportunities for renewable energy systems on existing buildings,” DMME Director John Warren, said in a statement.  “PACE requires public-private partnerships and gives local governments a leadership role in creating and keeping clean energy jobs.”

DMME will coordinate public and private stakeholders in Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Maryland to encourage growth of what is known as commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs.

“The clean energy sector in Virginia is growing and holds great potential for the new Virginia economy,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore as part of the announcement about the program, which came from the governor’s office.  “We believe after PACE programs are established in just a few localities that up to 160 clean energy projects can be financed, providing about 750 jobs.”

The grant funds will support the formation of the Mid-Atlantic PACE Alliance (MAPA). It will inform localities, lenders and borrowers about the financing advantages of PACE. The alliance will work with interested localities to develop consistent, streamlined practices for program administration, financial underwriting guidelines, measurement and verification requirements and contractor training and support.

According to the governor’s office, PACE is a no-money-down financing tool currently used in 16 states and Washington, D.C. It allows owners of commercial, industrial, multifamily and nonprofit properties to receive low-cost, long-term financing for energy efficiency, water conservation and renewable energy investments that enhance building performance and efficiencies.

PACE helps building owners finance upfront costs for improvements by reducing recurring energy and water expenses. Through the PACE program, cities, towns and counties work with private lenders who are repaid when localities collect PACE loan payments from borrowers in the form of special property assessments added to a borrower’s tax bill.

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