New financing tool available to improve energy efficiency

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Planning & Economic Development Department • Government Services Center

320 West Second Street, Suite 301 • Duluth, MN 55802

Phone: (218) 725-5000 • Toll Free in Minnesota: 1 (800) 450-9777 

Barbara Hayden





May 23, 2017

CONTACT: Michael Scharenbroich

Senior Planner


Board approves agreement to make energy efficiency financing available 


Business and property owners interested in making energy efficient improvements to their buildings now have a more affordable way to do so, following a vote by the St. Louis County Board. The County is now participating in the Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program, a financing tool to help property owners with the initial costs of installing renewable energy technology.



PACE provides project financing to businesses, farms, multi-family housing and nonprofits in St. Louis County. The financing then can be repaid as a separate item on property tax assessments for a set period. In this way, PACE eliminates the burden of upfront costs by providing low-cost, long-term financing.


“St. Louis County continues to look for ways to assist our business community," said County Board Chair Frank Jewell. "This program can help reduce operating expenses for them by helping them make energy-saving improvements to their buildings."


Examples of potential building improvements that can be financed with PACE are solar arrays, HVAC upgrades, LED lighting, condensing boilers, digital controls, insulation, variable-frequency drive motors, building automation systems, and other water and energy conservation measures.


PACE financing is different than a traditional loan and help building owners overcome several barriers to making energy-related building improvements. There are no upfront costs and there is less of a reliance on credit. Also, unlike a loan, when a transfer of ownership of the property takes place, the PACE assessment obligation stays with the property, not the property owner. In addition, PACE assessments can generally be repaid over longer terms than a bank might allow.


The St. Louis County Board unanimously approved a joint powers agreement with the Saint Paul Port Authority authorizing the new PACE program. The Saint Paul Port Authority provides the PACE funding and administers all aspects of the program. St. Louis County places the assessment on the property, collects payments each year, and passes money back to the Port Authority.


More information about the PACE program is available on the County's website or at