Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Help Support Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE)

With the potential stoppage of financing for renewable energy retrofits we risk not only our ability to control our local economy, but also our Sustainable Future.

America’s energy problems — from economic crisis to global climate change — will only be solved by a national transition to renewables. Energy Efficiency and Clean, homegrown, reliable solar energy is ready to play a large part of the solution, but we have still just scratched the surface of our vast energy saving potential. In order to bring the technology to scale, we need to bring down costs, and supply long term financing in these rough economic times. The solution could be Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE).

There is an urgent need to get our Federal leaders involved and make them aware of PACE programs to make them viable. Please use the sample letter below and/or go to Vote Solar to send your Federal Representatives a note.

Sample Letter:
Dear Representative:

Cities and counties throughout the U.S. are developing new finance programs that support clean energy building retrofits. Called Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE), these programs represent a promising tool for local governments to bring new jobs, energy bill savings, and environmental benefits to their communities. To date, 23 states have authorized PACE, and and over $100 million in federal funds have been allocated to implement PACE programs around the country.

Unfortunately, PACE is facing a serious threat that could render these programs dead in the water. On May 5, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac issued ‘Lender Letters’ that suggested that property owners with mortgages from these lending giants may be prohibited from participating in PACE programs. The move attacks the constitutional right of local governments to assess property taxes and throws a massive wrench in American green job growth and investment. It’s a big problem.

As a supporter of our new green economy, I am writing to request your assistance in this urgent matter. Specifically, I request that your offices:

1) Engage with the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and other relevant regulatory agencies to seek immediate clarification of the Lender Letters sent on May 5, 2010. Existing PACE programs—especially the ones receiving federal ARRA funds and following DOE underwriting guidelines—should be directed to proceed without any concern that they might violate the terms of the Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac uniform mortgage instruments, or be otherwise subject to adverse action by the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs); and

2) Convene a meeting among your offices, the GSEs, FHFA, other interested regulatory agencies, and PACE stakeholders to chart a course toward resolution of the parties’ concerns.

If this situation is not addressed immediately, the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac “Lender Letters” will likely mean that:
• Federally authorized and supported PACE programs across America will shut down, employees will be laid off, and our nation will lose the ability to unlock an extraordinary new means to retrofit homes and buildings across America.
• A significant and troubling precedent will be set by allowing financial institutions to curtail the authority of local governments to levy taxes in pursuit of a public purpose.

I thank you for your time and support.


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