Sturgeon County has said it wants to be on the starting line when a new property assessed clean energy program rolls out in Alberta later this year.
Council voted in favour of submitting an expression of interest to the non-profit PACE Alberta to show the county’s interest in having a property assessed clean energy program delivered to its residents once it’s available in Alberta.
Property assessed clean energy (PACE) is a relatively new way to finance energy efficiency projects that’s caught fire in the U.S. as a way to get around the high up-front cost of items like solar panels and new insulation.
Through it, property owners borrow money through a municipality or a third party to pay for a project and pay it back over many years through a lien on their property taxes. The lien stays with the property, so the owner only pays for it so long as they’re actually using it, and is typically set low enough that the savings from the project cover it.
PACE-like programs are already underway in Toronto, Halifax, Vancouver, Quebec and Nova Scotia, and eight Alberta communities (including St. Albert and Edmonton) have expressed interest in starting one, council heard.
In an interview, PACE Alberta founder Brian Scott said while any community in Alberta can now start a PACE program (the province passed the requisite law last June), most are waiting for Energy Efficiency Alberta and Edmonton to do a trial run of it. Edmonton will likely have a template bylaw in place by this fall that other communities could copy. Expressions of interest like the ones from Sturgeon will signal to whomever forms Alberta’s next government that interest in this program is still strong and help PACE Alberta lobby for improvements to it.
PACE financing can help people save money and get more comfortable homes, Scott said.
“Any Albertan anywhere would benefit from having access to this.”