West Springfield is the newest town in Massachusetts to approve PACE financing for businesses - short for Property Assessed Clean Energy financing. This program, signed into law by Governor Charlie Baker in 2016, has just launched statewide through MassDevelopment, and West Springfield is the first town in Hampden County to sign off.
In a letter to the council on May 2, Mayor William Reichelt wrote “the theory underlying the program, providing funds for energy-smart investments, is to allow businesses to take a percentage of the funds they would have previously spent on high-cost energy bills and replacements, and invest it into new energy improvements… in new construction, PACE allows owners to… invest in their staff and mission, increasing their economic impact on our town.”
The Town Council approved PACE per a resolution from the Mayor’s Office on May 21. Once the resolution is fully adopted, MassDevelopment will partner with the town to offer commercial property owners 20-year low interest financing from local banks for energy efficiency projects. Eligible projects may contain lighting, HVAC, or solar improvements as defined by the state law.
In prior years, through various state and local agencies, energy-efficiency upgrades such as flourescent replacements have been offered to small businesses and residents, but this is the first statewide program which addresses the needs of commercial business in West Springfield. Greenfield and Pittsfield have adopted similar resolutions to allow PACE in their towns - to be launched in July or August of this year.
Mayor Reichelt, in stressing the importance, said “we continue to work towards capitalizing on our location at the Crossroads of New England by encouraging innovative business ventures and mutually beneficial partnerships. The PACE program is a great opportunity for the entrepreneurial community here in Town and we are happy to make all such tools available in West Springfield.”