Prior to using Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing, a community must create an Energy Special Improvement District (ESID). DFA in collaboration with Summit County is the administrator of the Akron Summit County ESID. Current ESID members are Akron, Bath Township, Copley Township, Springfield Township, Coventry Township, Barberton, Cuyahoga Falls, Tallmadge, Norton, New Franklin, Lakemore Village and Fairlawn, with an application in process for Green and Richfield Village.
In August 2017, Summit County Council adopted, and County Executive Ilene Shapiro signed, innovative legislation intended to provide businesses, non-profits and governments with an additional incentive to make energy-efficient improvements to their buildings. During her first year in office, County Executive Shapiro has stressed the importance of creating new tools for the County’s economic development toolbox, and has worked with the DFA to find new ways to assist businesses and non-profits throughout Summit County. “The expansion of Akron’s ESID will create economic development opportunities that are not only energy efficient but financially beneficial for our largest cities and our smallest townships,” said Executive Shapiro.
The legislation authorized Executive Shapiro to enter into a cooperative agreement with the Development Finance Authority of Summit County (DFA) and the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council (NOPEC) to take steps to expand the Akron Energy Special Improvement District (ESID) throughout the rest of Summit County. As the ESID expands to new communities, businesses, non-profits and governments in those communities will be eligible to fund energy efficient improvements under Ohio’s PACE laws. Commercial property owners can make improvements such as lighting upgrades, roof and window replacements, and finance the improvement expense through a special assessment on the property. Because the source of the repayments is an assessment against the property, the improvements can be achieved with favorable financing terms.
The County, DFA and NOPEC are working with all other Summit County communities to identify a qualifying energy improvement project and assist with filing an ESID expansion petition with each respective community. In some situations a project used to expand the ESID to a community will be a local business, and in other situations a project will be for a property either owned by the County, another local government, or a non-profit. The current ESID expansion involves the communities contiguous to Akron as required by State law. As future businesses, non-profit and government projects are undertaken, those projects will be able to move more quickly because the process to expand the ESID in each community will already be completed.
In conjunction with efforts to expand the ESID to the balance of the County, NOPEC announced the creation of a new PACE loan program for commercial property owners within NOPEC communities. Under the NOPEC program, eligible improvements ranging from $100,000 to $500,000 can be financed through PACE financing. NOPEC is also able to provide financing got projects as small as $5,000 up to $500,000. To learn more about NOPEC, its member communities and its PACE loan programs, please visit https://www.nopecinfo.org/.