Harpswell voters approve PACE ordinance

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HARPSWELL — Residents voted Tuesday to establish a Property Assessed Clean Energy ordinance that will give homeowners access to low-interest loans for energy improvements.

The vote was 1,725 to 1,115.

With approval of PACE, Efficiency Maine will administer a revolving loan fund to finance improvements in energy efficiency, such as solar panels and efficient heating systems and insulation. The program is fueled by federal stimulus funds.

The $20 million revolving loan fund is available at low interest rates to homeowners in PACE communities. Several towns in Maine have already enacted PACE ordinances, including Yarmouth and Cumberland.

PACE loans are repaid like mortgages. According to Efficiency Maine, PACE loans in Maine are different than other states because liens placed on the property can be transferred to a new owner or paid off when the property is sold.

Maine’s PACE law dictates that payments on the loans will not be added to or treated like a property tax and do not have priority over a home mortgage. Interest rates may fall between 5 and 7 percent and the life of the loan is limited to the amount of time the energy improvements remain beneficial.

Stephanie Grinnell can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or sgrinnell@theforecaster.net

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