The third time could be the charm for attempts to have Pennsylvania join the majority of states that offer incentives and financing mechanisms for commercial energy-saving upgrades.
State Sen. Guy Reschenthaler, R-Jefferson Hills, whose district includes Peters Township, is co-sponsoring legislation to establish a Property Assessed Clean Energy program. Under Senate Bill 234, PACE financing – which can be used to purchase new heating and cooling systems, lighting improvements, solar panels, water pumps and insulation – would be repaid in the form of a voluntary property tax assessment on a specific building subject to improvement.
“This has been an initiative that’s been percolating in the General Assembly, really, for three consecutive legislative sessions,” the bill’s other co-sponsor, Sen. John Blake, D-Lackawanna County, said. He and Reschenthaler introduced the legislation at a Tuesday news conference in Harrisburg.
Comparable programs are active in 33 states and the District of Columbia.
“If you look at the states where it’s been introduced, it shows just how bipartisan this bill is. It’s been passed in ‘red’ states and ‘blue’ states: Alabama, California, Texas, Massachusetts. The list goes on and on,” Reschenthaler said.
Blake, a former executive director of the Lackawanna County Redevelopment Authority, described the opportunities for investments in upgrades as “patient capital,” with potential for substantial returns in the long term.
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