Gov. Chafee signs off on new program to help residents invest in clean energy

Media Contacts
Channing Jones

Environment Rhode Island

PROVIDENCE, RI – This week Governor Chafee signed a bill that will significantly expand opportunities for Ocean State homeowners to invest in clean energy options.  The bill establishes a Property Assessed Clean Energy financing program that will provide Ocean State homeowners with financing for the upfront costs of energy improvements like energy efficiency and rooftop solar, and will save them money over time by lowering or even eliminating fuel costs.    

“PACE financing can play an important role in helping homeowners make energy saving investments and ease access to pollution free solar energy, ” said Channing Jones of Environment Rhode Island.  “Unleashing investments in energy efficiency and onsite renewables like rooftop solar will create jobs here in Rhode Island and keep energy dollars in our local economy—while reducing fossil fuel emissions that pollute our air and contribute to global warming.”

The PACE legislation creates a new financing option for property owners that allows them to apply for a special loan for energy upgrades. The idea behind the program is to reduce the high upfront costs of renewable energy improvements that deter many property owners from investment. PACE will bolster investments in renewable energy as well as benefit property owners, existing lenders and create job growth with no credit or general obligation risk to municipalities.

Twenty-eight other states have passed legislation setting up similar PACE programs, though almost all of them are eligible only to commercial properties.  Rhode Island’s legislation, however, is one of the few residential PACE programs in the country.

While renewable energy is taking off in New England and across the country, Rhode Island has been a state lagging behind in this transition, still generating 97% of the state’s power from fossil fuel energy. The passage of the new PACE program legislation marks the beginning of Rhode Island progress towards transitioning to clean energy.

“Today we would like to thank the Rhode Island Legislature for taking a bold stance on clean energy,” said Jones. “Our state has now sparked the beginning of the transition to safe, sustainable, and pollution-free energy sources.”