Oakland County joins PACE program to promote energy efficiency for businesses

Oakland County has joined the Lean & Green Michigan PACE program. As a result, 62 percent of Michigan residents are now covered by PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy), a program that offsets the upfront costs of energy efficiency upgrades through a special property tax assessment.

PACE helps businesses finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that save money in the long run but require expensive investment up front. It allows property owners this ability through a special property tax assessment with local governments. The tax assessment then frees up lenders' ability to provide up to 20-year, low rate, fixed-interest loans.

Andy Levin, president of Lean & Green Michigan and managing partner of Levin Energy Partners, believes that the addition of Oakland County creates a critical mass of statewide involvement. The group will now spend more time on speaking to and educating property owners on the benefits of the program.

"The fundamental thing is that PACE is above and beyond politics. It's a straight-up pro-business idea," says Levin. "It has the potential to revolutionize commercial and industrial buildings the same way 30 year fixed mortgages revolutionized the residential market."

While Oakland County is the 20th Michigan county to officially embrace PACE, it already has a number of PACE success stories within its borders. The City of Southfield was the first jurisdiction in the state to become a member of the Lean & Green Michigan PACE program. And two of the four completed PACE projects in Michigan have occurred in Oakland County, including Orion Township-based Powers Distributing.

Powers successfully used PACE to finance a 95kW solar system on the roof of its recycling center as well as the installation of LED lighting throughout the facility. The beer distributor expects to save $48,000 per year in energy costs.

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