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The Daily Item, Paul Halloran

Lynn Picks Up The Pace In Renewable Energy Efforts

March 08, 2023

LYNN — The City of Lynn is taking a new step to help its commercial property owners tackle capital improvements, while working toward clean-energy goals.

Lynn is one of 62 communities throughout the Commonwealth to have adopted Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Massachusetts, an innovative program administered by MassDevelopment. Launched in 2020, the program provides a long-term option for financing energy improvements to commercial and industrial buildings, multi-family properties with five or more units, and buildings owned by nonprofits. The Lynn City Council voted in October to opt in to the program, at no cost to the city.

“Cities and towns love PACE because it supports economic development and promotes sustainability by incentivizing owners to invest in their buildings long-term,” said PACE Program Manager Wendy O’Malley. “It allows them to reduce their carbon footprint for the future, by looking at ways to reduce their energy usage.”

The funding can be used to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements such as boilers and furnaces, chillers, motors and drivers, lighting, solar panels, insulation, air sealing, geothermal, solar hot water, energy management systems, energy recovery, and redistribution systems.

Offering more flexibility than a direct loan, PACE Massachusetts allows property owners to undertake comprehensive energy upgrades without adding new debt, and through longer financing terms of up to 20 years. Savings from the upgrades can be used to repay for the improvements over time, which can be collected quarterly, semi-annually or annually.

“This is a voluntary program, and we hope that it will help property owners who choose to participate,” said Lauren Drago, associate planning director for the City of Lynn. “The average year built of Lynn industrial properties is 1942. These properties play a crucial role in our economy by keeping jobs in Lynn, but may need major renovations to keep up with contemporary needs. PACE can be a tool that helps finance some of these renovations, like new HVAC systems or windows or solar panels.”

Mayor Jared C. Nicholson said the funding available through PACE can be helpful for not only established businesses, but also companies that want to buy a property and update its infrastructure.

“This program provides opportunities for businesses and property owners to realize extensive savings on energy costs over the long term, while enhancing the sustainability of our community,” the mayor said.

Any interested, eligible property owners should reach out to pace@massdevelopment.com to explore if PACE might be a good fit.