Mayor Bliss, GR 2030 District and Lean & Green Michigan celebrate launch of Grand Rapids PACE program
Mayor Rosalynn Bliss joined representatives from Grand Rapids 2030 District and Lean & Green Michigan, along with the City’s new sustainability manager on Monday at an event celebrating the launch of the Grand Rapids PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) program.
Nearly 100 community stakeholders attended the PACE kickoff event at Founders Brewing Company. The launch party was both celebratory and informational, with Mayor Bliss and others touting the benefits of PACE and providing details about the program and application process.
“This is an exciting step toward our community’s sustainability goals and our efforts to reduce energy consumption and move to cleaner, renewable energy sources,” Mayor Bliss said. “The City has its own goal to get to 100 percent renewable energy by 2025 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2021. These goals align with those of the private sector-led Grand Rapids 2030 District.”
Mayor Bliss was joined by her colleagues on the City Commission in August in adopting a PACE program for the city. Special assessment PACE districts make it easier for property owners to complete energy-saving improvements and installations.
During the launch event, Alison Sutter, the City’s new sustainability manager, provided an overview of the Grand Rapids PACE program and touted the program’s support of property owners wanting to increase energy efficiency of their buildings or install renewable energy.
“Property owners understand the value of operating more energy-efficient buildings,” Sutter said. “PACE is a tool that supports their efforts to realize these energy and financial savings.”
Sutter also provided information about the application process, which begins with the completion of the PACE Project Inquiry Form available at grandrapidsmi.gov/PACE. The form requests basic information on the property and the types of energy efficiency or renewable energy projects for which the owner is interested in pursuing PACE financing. Once the form is submitted, the PACE administrator ensures the project meets eligibility requirements and assists the owner in securing a PACE contractor and lender. After the property owner submits a formal PACE application to the City, the City Commission must approve a resolution creating the PACE district and the special assessment agreement.
The Grand Rapids PACE program does not use any City funds. Instead, a PACE administrator helps to match lenders and property owners. Lean & Green Michigan is serving as a PACE administrator for the Grand Rapids program.
“We couldn’t be more excited to be part of Grand Rapids launching its PACE program,” said Andy Levin, Managing Partner of Levin Energy Partners, which administers PACE programs statewide through Lean & Green Michigan. “We believe that Grand Rapids will become a national center of PACE activity because of its unique business culture, which weaves together civic engagement, innovation and sustainability.”
Levin also announced a PACE training workshop set for noon to 4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 16 at a Grand Rapids location to be announced. The cost is $150, which includes lunch and materials. More information and registration is available at leanandgreenmi.com/seminar_signup.
Cheri Holman, director of Grand Rapids 2030 District, said the organization was working toward a goal of 50 percent reduction in districtwide energy and water use by 2030.
“The launch of this innovative financing mechanism by the City of Grand Rapids gives property owners another way to look at the return on investment in energy-efficient and renewable energy projects.” Holman said “By offering a longer term than traditional financing methods, PACE projects can produce immediate cash positive opportunities.”
Additional information about the Grand Rapids PACE program is available at grandrapidsmi.gov/PACE.
Holman also shared information about an upcoming zero net energy workshop dedicated to design and implementation. The workshop – set for 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14 at the Grand Rapids Art Museum, 101 Monroe Center St. NW – will provide information about zero energy, including existing codes and polices, national market adoption and a presentation on Consumers Energy’s new zero net energy pilot program. The cost is $45 and includes lunch. Registration is available at usgbcwm.org/events.
The PACE launch event was sponsored by Energy Alliance Group and CleanFund Commercial PACE Capital.