- Commercial and multi-family property owners in Atlanta soon will be able to secure loans for clean energy projects that boost energy efficiency, water conservation and renewable energy, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.
- Up to $500 million in bonds will be available through the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program, with each 20-year loan totaling at least $5,000. Through a P3 agreement, California-based Ygrene Energy Fund will be the program administrator.
- The loans may open up to single-family homeowners after the city has the opportunity to properly educate them about the program.
Atlanta continues its environmentally friendly initiatives despite a major setback when Georgia cut its electric vehicle (EV) tax credit, which contributed to an 80% drop in EV sales statewide. The city's residents are known for their dependence on cars, repeatedly making Atlanta one of the most congested cities in the world, according to various studies. While the work on greening buildings through the loan program won't directly erase the effects of vehicle emissions, it's a step in the right direction.
The loan program is in line with Atlanta's commitment to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2035, for which the Office of Sustainability is scheduled to release an action plan by January. The city's newly opened Mercedes-Benz Stadium also mirrors the clean energy goals with its 4,000 solar panels, making it one of the largest and most advanced solar installations at a U.S. sports venue.
As part of the agreement for 100% renewable energy by 2035, a city councilman touted how the plan would lower residents' utility bills in addition to cleaning up Atlanta's air and water. Cost is a primary barrier to clean-energy projects becoming more widespread. The up-front clean-energy project financing could pique interest from a whole new subset of property owners who previously didn't consider such pricey upgrades an option, especially if the loans do open to single-family homeowners, as expected.
The loan program furthers Atlanta's participation in the Better Buildings Challenge, which launched in 2011. The initiative aims to make commercial buildings 20% more energy and water efficient by 2020 and boost private sector investment in energy efficient measures. Nearly 39% of Atlanta's 599 participating buildings already have achieved the goal.