Getting Ready for PACE in New Jersey — Part 1*

Now that implementation of the new Garden State PACE program seems imminent, it’s worth understanding how the program will work.

Let’s begin with the law, codified as N.J.S.A. 34-1B-374-382 (“the C-PACE Act”). The first section describes the legislature’s findings and declarations — the intent of the legislation — beginning with the assertion that.

Investing in water conservation, stormwater management, renewable energy, energy efficiency, and flood and hurricane mitigation improvements to real property is a critical component in conserving natural resources and mitigating the effects of floods and hurricanes;
The first thing to notice, then, is that the legislation covers a lot more than clean energy, and includes several elements of resiliency for buildings. The preamble goes on to state:

The up-front costs of retrofitting properties with these improvements are often a barrier to investing in such improvements, and the additional cost of meeting and exceeding new code requirements in connection with new construction is a deterrent to the investments; Recent studies have demonstrated that the existing financing options for these projects have not made them sufficiently available to property owners and developers;

Property assessed clean energy (“PACE”) financing, in which repayment is made by way of a special assessment on the real property to which the improvement, including new construction upon previously unimproved real property, is made, is an innovative way for property owners to finance or refinance renewable energy, energy and water efficiency, and other eligible improvements which, in turn, saves a significant sum in utility costs or insurance premiums, creates jobs, stimulates local economies, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and improves the safety and quality of the building stock;

Further, the preamble states:

To date, PACE programs for commercial properties (“C-PACE”) operate in more than 24 other states and the District of Columbia, and they have facilitated more than $2 billion in investment in over 2,100 C-PACE projects; C-PACE financing will enable New Jersey municipalities to contribute toward their goals of community sustainability and reducing greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption, and will provide a valuable service to the citizens of their communities; and
C-PACE financing serves a valid public purpose and enactment of P.L.2021, c.201 (C.34:1B-374 et al.) is expressly declared to be in the public interest.

This provides the rationale and the intent for the rest of the law. (Continued here.)


*This is a layperson’s interpretation of the statute and should not be construed as legal advice or relied upon without consulting a qualified attorney.

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