PACE program allows businesses to fund green projects

Seeking clean energy
The PACE program is a cost-effective way for area building owners to make improvements to their facilities, which will help cut down on a business’ expenses while lowering its environmental impact.

Hays County has become the 12th local government in Texas to establish a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program. PACE is an innovative financing program enacted in 2013 that enables owners of commercial and industrial properties to obtain low-cost, long-term loans for water conservation, energy-efficiency improvements and renewable retrofits. 

 Under the leadership of the Hays County Commissioners Court, commercial PACE is now available throughout the county, including Buda, Dripping Springs, Kyle, San Marcos and other communities. Hays joins Travis and Williamson counties to form a three-county central Texas PACE region along the Interstate 35 corridor. 

 “This program is designed to help local businesses of all sizes afford repairs and retrofits that result in energy and water conservation, at no cost to taxpayers,”Hays County Judge Bert Cobb said. “We appreciate the assistance of all who worked together to bring these options to our local business owners.”

 The Hays County Commissioners Court adopted the PACE in a Box model and selected the Texas PACE Authority to administer the program. PACE in a Box standardizes the design of PACE programs in Texas, resulting in uniformity and predictability of requirements for PACE financing among all participating local jurisdictions. As a result, the various stakeholders in PACE financing transactions – property owners, lenders, governmental agencies, energy service companies, manufacturers and others — are able to accelerate the process of utilizing PACE financing in Texas.

Among the first anticipated to utilize the Hays County PACE program is Simon Properties’ Premium Outlets. Future-focused improvements to the HVAC, water and energy systems are expected to be some of the many upgrades made by Simon Properties. 

 The Greater San Marcos Partnership (GSMP) worked with Hays County to determine the value of implementing the PACE program. 

 “The PACE program is a cost-effective way for area building owners to make improvements to their facilities, which will help cut down on a business’ expenses while lowering its environmental impact,” GSMP President Adriana Cruz said. “This is an attractive option to our existing businesses as they grow and look to enhance their pre-existing sites rather than relocating to newer locations, which may not be within the Greater San Marcos region. It’s a program that does not impact local taxes and supports the retention and expansion of our local employers already present in the community.”

 The PACE statute, Chapter 399 of the Texas Local Government Code, authorizes municipalities and counties in Texas to work with private sector lenders and property owners to finance qualified improvements using contractual assessments voluntarily imposed on the property by the owner. 

 The term of a PACE loan may extend up to 20 years, resulting in utility cost savings that exceed the amount of the assessment payment. As a result, improvements financed through PACE generate positive cash flow upon completion with no out-of-pocket cost to the property owner. If the property is sold before the full amount of the PACE loan is repaid, the repayment obligation automatically transfers to the next owner because the lien securing the PACE assessment follows title to the property.

The program is available now and existing building owners are encouraged to apply. Those interested in applying for the PACE program should contact Victor Garza, director of Existing Business, Talent & Entrepreneurship, at victorg@greatersanmarcostx.com.

 

• Submitted by GSMP

 

 

 

 

San Marcos Daily Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666