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County ushers in clean energy financing program

Hays County has become the 12th local government to establish a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program in Texas, according to a press release from the Greater San Marcos Partnership (GSMP).

PACE is a financing program enacted in 2013 that enables owners of commercial and industrial properties to obtain low-cost, long-term loans for water conservation, energy-efficiency improvements, and renewable retrofits.

Under the leadership of the Hays County Commissioners Court, commercial PACE is now available throughout the county, including Buda, Dripping Springs, Kyle, San Marcos and other communities throughout the county. Hays County joins Travis and Williamson counties to form a three-county central Texas PACE region along the I-35 Corridor.

The Hays County Commissioners Court adopted the PACE in a Box model and selected the Texas PACE Authority to administer the program.

PACE in a Box standardizes the design of PACE programs in Texas, resulting in uniformity and predictability of requirements for PACE financing among all participating local jurisdictions.

As a result, the various stakeholders in PACE financing transactions – property owners, lenders, governmental agencies, energy service companies, manufacturers and others – are able to accelerate the process of utilizing PACE financing in Texas.

Among the first anticipated to utilize the Hays County PACE program is Simon Property Group’s Premium Outlets. Future-focused improvements to the HVAC, water, and energy systems are expected to be some of the many upgrades made by Simon Property Group.

The Greater San Marcos Partnership (GSMP) worked with Hays County to determine the value of implementing the PACE program. Adriana Cruz, president of the Greater San Marcos Partnership, said the program is a “cost-effective way” for area building owners to make improvements to their faciliites. She added it would help cut down on a business’ expense, while lowering its environmental impact.

“This is an attractive option to our existing businesses as they grow and look to enhance their pre-existing sites rather than relocating to newer locations, which may not be within the Greater San Marcos region,” Cruz said in the release. “It’s a program that does not impact local taxes and supports the retention and expansion of our local employers already present in the community.”

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