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Editor, thank you for the Jan. 28 editorial reminding us of the benefits School District 2 has realized from its investments in energy efficiencies during the past 10 years. While solar panels are visible and sexy, they make little sense unless the power is used as efficiently as possible.

Commercial properties, churches and other non-profits can realize the same benefits from energy efficiency retrofits, reducing energy bills and leaving more revenue to fulfill their missions and business goals. One obstacle is finding the upfront money to make these investments.

A bill soon to be introduced into the Legislature, named Commercial-Property Assessed Clean Energy and currently numbered LC 1835, would make no-money-down financing available from private lenders for commercial properties and non-profits. The loans would create a lien on the property to be paid back through a property assessment. The repayments are structured so that the payments are always less than the savings, creating a positive cash flow from the first month. Counties, which participate voluntarily, distribute the payments to lenders, as just another account paid by property taxes, similar to accounts for sidewalks and parks.

PACE makes this option available for counties and property owners to use, if they wish. No coercion or public money is involved. The benefits include economic development, contractor jobs, decreased operating expenses, higher wages, lower rents, more comfortable buildings.

Mary Fitzpatrick

Billings

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