Energy Project Assessment District proposed for Louisville

April 11, 2016

Establishes new way for eligible property owners to pay for energy efficient upgrades

Eligible property owners would be able to make energy efficient upgrades on their buildings and pay for them through assessments, under a proposed ordinance pending before the Louisville Metro Council.

Mayor Greg Fischer said the proposal creating an Energy Project Assessment District, or EPAD, would allow property owners to acquire private financing to put in solar panels or water conservation measures, for example -- and then repay the loans via an assessment collected by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s office, over a term of up to 20 years.

The ordinance is sponsored by Ninth District Councilman Bill Hollander.

This measure would remove a difficult barrier for many, Fischer said, given that energy efficient upgrades can be costly up front, while the energy savings comes over time. Financing energy projects also can be made difficult by short repayment periods, high or variable interest rates, stringent credit requirements and lack of equity. But EPAD assessments offer longer repayment terms and the ability to effectively improve overall property value and marketability.

“Reducing energy consumption is a key recommendation from Sustain Louisville, the city’s first comprehensive plan for ensuring an environmentally sound, vibrant and prosperous future for Louisville and its citizens,” Fischer said. “The long-term EPAD structure is a win-win for the community and for property owners who want to be good stewards of the environment but don’t always have the means to do so.”

Hollander agreed.  "EPAD is a smart program, which assists property owners to voluntarily carry out energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, without an investment of taxpayer dollars,” he said. “Because both property owners and the environment benefit, I have been happy to work on this ordinance.”

Hollander noted that Jefferson County Sheriff John Aubrey was instrumental in developing the proposed EPAD ordinance.

Such legislation is already in place in 32 states, many of which call it PACE, for Property Assessed Clean Energy. Kentucky approved enabling legislation allowing local governments to create EPADs last spring.

Maria Koetter, director of Sustainability for Louisville Metro Government, said her office has been working since last spring with experts, environmentalists and other stakeholders to establish an EPAD here.

“EPAD programs are quite successful nationally to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. We look forward to developing a local program that will help property owners save money on utility bills and help achieve the city’s energy conservation goals.”