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Leon County To Offer Home Improvement Finance Option

Tallahassee Democrat

In a few months, Leon County homeowners will have a new way to finance energy saving and energy producing projects.

Maggie Theriot is director of Leon County’s Office of Resource Stewardship. She said the upcoming offering is known by two acronyms. One is “PACE”, which stands for “Property Assessed Clean Energy.”

“Citizens who wish to finance energy improvement projects, they can repay that financing through their property tax bill,” Theriot explained. “That’s the ‘Property Assessed’ part of the clean energy acronym.”

Theriot added the clean energy part of the acronym refers to any number of energy-saving improvements homeowners may wish to make.

“For residential, anything from a new roof, new windows, new air conditioning system…if you have a pool and you’re fortunate enough to have it heated, it could be a replacement or repair of that pump and water heater system,” she said.

Besides saving energy, the program can also be used to finance energy producing projects, such as installing solar panels or geo-thermal systems. And because this is private financing under the Home Energy Renovation Opportunity or HERO program, Theriot said no taxpayer money is used to underwrite those projects.

“When the program launches in October, there will be one initial pilot provider by the name of ‘Renovate America’ and they offer the HERO program, so that’s where we get another acronym introduced to the pie. But down the road, there may be four, five or six different providers that a homeowner could choose from and look for the most competitive rate.”

Theriot said one target for the program is folks who don’t have access to the City of Tallahassee’s longstanding low-interest loan program for home energy conservation measures.

“So if you are an unincorporated resident and you’re not currently served by the City of Tallahassee Utilities, you don’t have as many options. The City is very generous with their loan programs and incentives there. So that’s one part of our population, which is about 20,000 households.”

But Theriot said the county’s program can also be used by those already being helped by the city’s programs.

“If you are a City of Tallahassee utility user, this program still applies and can still benefit you as well. We do not discriminate. Anyone living in the Leon County jurisdiction does qualify and we do not suggest that the PACE program is a one-size-fits-all or the best solution for every person.”

Much more information about Leon County’s private financing option for energy-related home improvements will be available as the October launch date draws nearer.

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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