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Buffalo expected to pass law to make clean-energy financing program available

Low-cost loans for clean-energy projects may soon be available for companies and other entities that own commercial buildings in Buffalo.

The state's new Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program provides private capital to commercial and nonprofit building owners so they can make renewable energy and energy-efficient upgrades to their buildings.

First, municipalities must pass a local law and sign an Energy Improvement Corporation municipal agreement for EIC to act on the city's behalf. EIC – a nonprofit, statewide local development corporation that administers the new financing program, bills the property owners and directs them to remit the funds to the capital provider, removing any collection obligation from the municipality. EIC also provides a list of preapproved lenders and reviews and approves each financing to make sure it is aligned with the program's guidelines.

The Common Council's legislative committee last Tuesday recommended enacting the local law. The full Council likely will adopt the legislation during its next regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday.

Once the council passes the law, qualified commercial property owners will be able to access the specialized financing, said Delaware Council Member Joel P. Feroleto, who introduced the legislation in the Council.

"Smart policies like PACE financing can unlock Buffalo's green energy potential, while also creating well-paying jobs," Feroleto said. "By making energy conservation more attractive and financially attainable for commercial property owners, we are further positioning Buffalo to be a renewable energy leader."

Energy efficiency and renewable energy projects will help reduce Buffalo's overall carbon footprint, said Mayor Byron W. Brown. And commercial property owners, who take on more energy-efficient projects may significantly reduce their buildings' energy costs at a faster rate than they may have anticipated.

"The city is taking aggressive action to combat the consequences of global climate change," Brown said. "That is why my administration is committed to working with the state and Common Council to promote programs that provide commercial property owners affordable financing for renewable energy projects."

Qualifying commercial properties cannot be owned by an individual or single proprietor and cannot be government-owned property. Eligible property owners may be corporations (both for-profit and not-for-profit), limited liability companies, partnerships and real estate investment trusts.

In addition, the property owner must be current in mortgage payments and property taxes on the property.

For more details on qualification, go to energizeny.org/commercial/cpace-program-documents.

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