PACE cars? Not what you might think

solar canopy at 1800lawfirmPACE programs are being adopted by municipalities across Michigan, and the rest of the country, as a truly innovative way to support energy efficiency and investments in renewable energy infrastructure.

“Property-assessed clean energy, or PACE, programs match lenders, local governments and property owners in mutually beneficial arrangements that deploy clean energy resources,” according to a report on Green Tech Media.

“Lenders and local governments establish a pool of capital that provides funding to property owners seeking energy-efficiency upgrades, solar array installations and other improvements. In return, the property owners agree to pay increased property taxes over a future period, sometimes as long as twenty years. Property owners enjoy immediate energy savings without having to secure their own financing.”

Builders, government agencies and property owners have embraced PACE as a way to make their buildings more efficient without paying all the costs up front.

So how can this help promote more efficient vehicles?

The question is whether PACE funding can be used to install EV charging stations and other infrastructure.

“Office buildings, in particular, represent a great opportunity for PACE-EV programs,” according to the Green Tech story. “For most office workers, the barrier to switching to an EV is not time -- most of them leave their vehicles untouched for eight or more hours during the workday, more than enough time for adequate charging. Rather, the lack of infrastructure is the more formidable barrier.”

Taking advantage of PACE would allow companies to take the long view on EVs, allowing them to amortize the cost of the infrastructure over more years.

Right here in Michigan, the Southfield building housing the 1-800-LAW-FIRM offices took advantage of PACE funding to add wind turbines, solar panels, high-efficiency lighting and a big solar canopy with electric-vehicle charging stations to its offices (see photo above).  And the new building housing the Michigan Public Service Commission has also added EV charging stations as part of its PACE-funded clean energy upgrades.   

We’ve always thought that the electric vehicle industry needs new levels of cooperation among government and business, just the kind of thing that PACE was designed to do.