Salem and Beverly Offering Property Assessed Clean Energy Program
Participation in state clean energy program reduces carbon footprint of commercial and industrial buildings
May 27, 2021 : Salem.com
In July 2020, MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources launched Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Massachusetts, a mechanism to fund energy improvements on commercial and industrial buildings and multifamily properties with five or more units. Majority vote of a City Council is required for a city to opt into the PACE program. In May 2021, joining 41 municipalities across the Commonwealth that have opted into the PACE program, Beverly and Salem City Councils reviewed and unanimously approved the PACE Massachusetts resolutions submitted by Mayor Cahill and Mayor Driscoll, respectively.
Through PACE Massachusetts, property owners can finance energy efficiency upgrades and renewable energy by agreeing to a betterment assessment on their property, which repays the financing. This enables these building owners to implement energy improvements with longer payback periods of up to 20 years using a low-cost financing tool that runs with the property. More details about the program are available on the PACE Massachusetts website.
“The state’s new PACE program will help our larger business and multi-family residential property owners make big gains in energy efficiency and install clean energy-based heating and cooling systems, as well as rooftop solar and other improvements, helping our community do our part to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The financing made possible through this outstanding program will make these needed steps attractive and affordable,” said Beverly Mayor Mike Cahill.
In 2020, the Cities of Beverly and Salem partnered to create Resilient Together, a climate action and resilience plan to take collective climate action. The overall goal is to reach carbon neutrality by 2050, tracking with state, federal, and global targets to limit the planet's warming to 1.5 degrees C. As the plan reaches its final stages of development this summer, Beverly and Salem are poised to continue their coordination and enable businesses to take action on climate through PACE Massachusetts.
“The PACE program has benefits for Salem property owners and for the City itself,” said Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll. “For the property owner, they gain advantageous, long-term, upfront financing to carry out capital projects that are likely to reduce their operating costs and increase their property values. The City benefits from job creation, business growth, an expansion of the tax base by increasing the property’s value, and the environmental and sustainability benefits realized from the reduced energy consumption of the property. I’m hopeful our City Council advances the required approvals so that Salem’s property owners can take advantage of this innovative new clean energy and green building program from the state. We see this measure as an important tool in our efforts to meet our climate change and sustainability goals.”
"Residents have access to energy efficiency incentives through initiatives like MassSave. The PACE program would expand opportunities for affordable efficiency and renewable energy investment to our business community," said Erina Keefe, Beverly's Sustainability Director. "This program will also help to meaningfully reduce greenhouse gas emissions from commercial buildings, which account for a quarter of overall emissions in Beverly and Salem." Commercial buildings account for 23.4% of community-wide emissions in Beverly and 25.5% in Salem.