Clean-energy bill gives property owners easier loan option for upgrades
News release from Office of Rep Cynthia Thielen, January 13, 2016
With property owners facing financial obstacles in their quest to install energy-maximizing and –saving upgrades, Rep. Cynthia Thielen (Kailua, Kaneohe Bay) has drafted HB1524, which introduces a loan program based on a property's tax-assessment value.
Residential and commercial properties valued at more than the total amount owed to the mortgage lender may qualify for the Hawaii property-assessed clean-energy program (PACE). If passed, the new Act would take effect July 2016 with loans up to $250,000 distributed through December 2040.
The new option would add Hawaii to the majority of states that have enacted similar legislation; increase activity in energy projects; stimulate the State's clean energy sector; and create more jobs. It would also help Hawaii to reach its clean-energy target – generating all of Hawaii's electricity through renewable-energy sources – by 2045.
"This legislation gives Hawaii property owners easier access to loans so that they can reduce their energy expenses and also help the environment," Representative Thielen said.
Examples of loan-qualifying energy projects include air sealing and ventilation; insulation; reflective roofs; skylights; solar photovoltaic systems; and wind systems.
A bill proposing similar measures failed passage in 2010, due to the Federal Housing Finance Agency's concerns about which lien – mortgage or loan -- had repayment priority. However, following President Obama's clean-energy announcements in 2015, federal guidelines were established. Under the direction of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, the lender would pay the loan amount to the energy business hired to complete the service and the loan would be repaid through revenues generated by a special assessment on the borrowers' real-property tax bills.
HNN: Bill would give homeowners loans to make energy-saving upgrades