Tag: renewable energy (Page 2 of 3)

Update: Changes to PACE and Special Assessments in North Carolina

Solar Panelsby Adam C. Parker

Adam Parker is a law clerk at the North Carolina Court of Appeals. He was formerly a summer law clerk with the UNC School of Government. Adam graduated from the UNC MPA Program in 2010 and UNC Law in 2013.

In 2012, Jeff Hughes and I published a paper that compared PACE and the culture of special assessments in three states: North Carolina, Georgia and Florida. Several items have occurred that are relevant to PACE and special assessments in North Carolina, which are updated in a revised version of the paper found here. For a brief summary of the paper, please also see Matt Harris’s blog post here.

This post summarizes the major changes to both the authority of the underlying financing instrument behind PACE in North Carolina, the special assessment, as well as some items of interest that have occurred nationally which affect PACE, particularly in the residential setting.

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Revolving Credit – All Grown Up

Jen Weiss is a Finance Analyst at the Environmental Finance Center. 

Quick … what do you think of when you hear the word “revolving?”  A revolving door?  A revolving restaurant?  Perhaps a revolving credit card?

In the environmental finance world, the term “revolving” is being paired up with the equally unassuming term “green” to create an effective energy efficiency and renewable energy financing tool called a green revolving fund.  At its core, it is a revolving credit instrument, operating much like a credit card which, according to Merriam-Webster, is a pretty straight forward financial tool: “a credit which may be used repeatedly up to the limit specified after partial or total repayments have been made.” But a green revolving fund is not your everyday Visa or Mastercard with a $5,000 upper limit.  It is the more sophisticated older sibling of the credit card, the sibling that has grown up and gone off to college. And while it is there, it is making a significant contribution to the bottom line.

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Survey Says: Some in NC Using Green Financial Incentives, Elsewhere Regulations

Dayne Batten is a Research Assistant for the EFC and second year MPA student at UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Government.

NC Local governments surveyed indicated a diversity in policies, ranging from financial incentives for green building projects to regulations affecting alternative energy installations.

Alternative energy facilities, green site design features, and green building techniques (such as those required for LEED certification) are a promising way for citizens, businesses, and governments to minimize the environmental impacts of construction projects. Seizing on these opportunities for environmental responsibility, many local governments have provided incentive programs for green construction in their zoning ordinances. Other governments, seeking to walk a fine line between environmental friendliness and aesthetics, have regulated various features of alternative energy installations. But how many local governments are doing this? And what, specifically, are they doing?

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Three States, Three Different Statutory Frameworks for PACE Programs

Matt Harris is the Marketing and Outreach Coordinator for the Environmental Finance Center. Adam Parker and Jeff Hughes wrote the paper referenced below, which is available on the Environmental Finance Center website at: http://efc.unc.edu/publications.html#PACE

While watching the presidential debate last night I was particularly struck by one contentious issue that surfaced as a sharp disconnect between the two candidates: the age-old debate between the role of federal government versus the role of state and local governments. Although not entirely surprising to see in a presidential race, the plea by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney for states’ autonomy and President Barack Obama’s fierce defense of federal oversight sounded like two men on soap boxes at the turn of the nineteenth century, perhaps with anti-federalist and federalist papers respectively in hand. So it’s fitting to post today about a financial tool for clean energy that remains beholden to the variance in policy landscapes across states.

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QECBs: A Cheaper Way for Local Governments to Fund Energy Efficiency (and Renewable) Projects

Michael Chasnow is a Finance Analyst with the Environmental Finance Center.

Qualified energy conservation bonds (QECBs) are an exciting tool that states, counties and cities can use to cheaply finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects within their jurisdictions. QECBs are similar to Build America Bonds (“BABs”) in that the interest on QECBs is taxable but the federal government offers a direct cash subsidy to the bond issuer to subsidize the interest costs. The subsidy on QECBs is twice as large as the BAB subsidy at about 4% (4.29% as of Aug. 21, 2012), making QECBs an extremely low-cost financing option for state and local government issuers. For more on the QECB essentials, check out DSIRE’s detailed description.

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