A better outlook for Pitkin County’s Energy Smart Loan Program
Vail, CO Colorado
ASPEN – Last week, Pitkin County’s Energy Smart Loan Program looked like a darn good deal. This week, the deal is even sweeter.
Energy program manager Dylan Hoffman told the Aspen City Council on Monday night that Alpine Bank has not only offered to provide a $1 million line of credit to get the program up and running, but that the terms of the deal will allow the county to provide loans to property owners at 4.5 percent. Hoffman told Pitkin County last week the interest rate could be as high as 6 percent.
“We’re very pleased with how this has worked out with a local bank … better than anticipated,” Hoffman said during a presentation on the program, which is set to launch in June.
Eagle County is planning a similar program.
Pitkin County voters authorized borrowing of up to $7 million to finance the program, which will offer low-interest loans to residential property owners who wish to invest in renewable energy or energy-efficiency projects. The loans – which can range from $3,000 to $50,000 – will be repaid through a special assessment on the property tax bill of those who choose to participate.
If requests to the county max out the $1 million line of credit, the county can seek additional bank loans or look into a multi-jurisdictional bond debt under a soon-to-be-approved state measure, SB100.
“For now, though, the line of credit makes more sense. We will utilize it as a sort of bridge loan, while we figure out our next financing scenarios,” Hoffman said. “Plus, with a line of credit, a homeowner can utilize the program right when they need it.”
Under the bond scenario, there would likely be one application deadline, with all funds being dispersed at once, rather than allowing property owners to apply over time and funds being doled out as approved.
Hoffman said his office hopes to have a website for possible loan applicants up and running soon. In addition to applying for the loan, property owners will be required to attend a workshop explaining the program, as well as obtain estimates or bids from contractors about the project they are seeking funding for. In addition, property owners will be required to conduct an energy audit on their property, though the scope of the required audits has yet to be determined.