First Energy Improvement District

Pulaski County Quorum Court Approves First Countywide Energy Improvement District

Pulaski County Property owners will soon have the opportunity and flexibility to affordably finance renewable energy, energy efficiency and water conservation projects. Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) is an innovative financing program that allows property owners to borrow 100% of project costs and pay for them through a special assessment on their annual property tax bill.

Based on data provided by the U.S Department of Energy, there is great potential for energy and cost savings in the commercial building market. They estimate the PACE program, if all U.S. businesses and institutions took advantage of these cost‐effective upgrades, could reduce our average annual energy use by 25%. Through job creation and lower energy bills, every dollar invested will produce a positive return in savings.

A recent joint‐study, released by the Georgia Institute of Technology and Duke University, concluded that Arkansas would benefit greatly from energy efficiency programs. As a direct result of these programs, they estimate the creation of nearly 11,000 new jobs in the next fifteen years and $1.7 billion in total energy savings. Arkansas residents spent $3.2 billion on electricity in 2007 alone.

“This ordinance is a job creator,” says County Judge Barry Hyde. “Pulaski County is leading the way with smart options for developers and property owners by creating the State’s largest PACE district. PACE financing will provide a practical way to save energy, reduce emissions and improve air quality while adding to the value of property. Through PACE, Pulaski County is demonstrating its commitment to renewable energy development, energy efficiency, and the creation of local jobs.”

Act 1074 of 2013 enables Arkansas’s cities and counties to create energy improvement districts to fund loans for the full cost of qualified energy saving projects. Loan payments must be less than the cost of the energy saved, resulting in positive cash flow to the participant. Pulaski County joins Fayetteville, North Little Rock and Little Rock as localities having authorized PACE districts in Arkansas.

Pulaski County’s PACE program is expected to be operational by fall 2015.