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Local Option - Special Districts

Last Review: 2013-05-22
Incentive Type: PACE Financing
Eligible Efficiency Technologies: Lighting, Chillers, Furnaces, Boilers, Heat pumps, Central Air conditioners, Heat recovery, Energy Mgmt. Systems/Building Controls, Duct/Air sealing, Building Insulation, Windows, Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Photovoltaics, Wind, Biomass, Geothermal Heat Pumps, Hydrogen, Daylighting
Applicable Sectors: Commercial
Terms: Determined locally
Website:

Summary:

Note: The Federal Housing Financing Agency (FHFA) issued a statement in July 2010 concerning the senior lien status associated with most PACE programs. In response to the FHFA statement, most local PACE programs have been suspended until further clarification is provided.

Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing effectively allows property owners to borrow money to pay for energy improvements. The amount borrowed is typically repaid via a special assessment on the property over a period of years. Florida statutes authorize municipalities and counties to establish dependent special districts with the authority to collect revenue via a special assessment. (Not all local governments in Florida offer PACE financing; contact your local government to find out if it has established a PACE financing program.)

Local governments were granted clear authority to create PACE financing programs with the passage of HB 7179 in May 2010. This legislation authorizes local governments - including counties, municipalities and dependent special districts - to levy non-ad valorem assessments to fund energy efficiency and conservation improvements, renewable energy improvements, and wind resistance improvements. Specific qualifying improvements are listed, but the actual eligible technologies will be locally determined when a program is implemented at the local level. The loans made to property owners are secured with a lien that is equal to county taxes and assessments. To participate in this program, property owners must have paid property taxes and not been delinquent for the previous three years. Additionally, the total assessment cannot be for an amount greater than 20% of the assessed value of the property. Local governments may pool together with other local governments to finance and administer programs.

In addition to authority granted by HB 7179, existing Florida law authorizes municipalities and counties to create special districts for financing a variety of projects that serve the public purpose and benefit the municipality or county. Many special districts currently exist to finance public infrastructure and administer various programs that serve the public purpose and benefit property owners and the municipality or county. A municipality or county can create a dependent special district to administer a PACE program. The Special District Information Program of the Florida Department of Community Affairs has a handbook that summarizes how counties and municipalities may create a dependent special district.

Examples of PACE programs in Florida include:

Please check each program website to verify availability, as most have been affected by the FHFA ruling.


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