One of the provisions in the state budget passed last year was the creation of renewable energy districts. WKYC in Cleveland notes that the City of Cleveland and sixteen suburbs are the first communities in the State to take advantage of the new program. In fact, it might be the first of its kind in the entire country.
As WKYC explains how the programs works and how it encourages the implementation of energy conserving technologies that would otherwise be cost prohibitive:
A Renewable Energy Special Improvement District is an mechanism which allows property owners in participating communities to finance the cost of installing and operating energy efficiency systems — including solar, geothermal, wind and other technologies — and allow the cost to be repaid over 20 years through a special voluntary tax on their property bill.
There will be no cost to property owners who do not participate in the program.
It is a self-financing program where the energy cost savings will be greater than costs of the energy improvements.
Without the RE-SID, energy efficiency projects have significant up-front costs; it takes a property owner several years to recoup their investment in energy efficiency.
Not only does this increase demand for Ohio’s growing green energy manufacturing companies, but it provides property owners with financing for such goods at lower costs than traditional financing.
We’ll keep an eye out to see if any other communities in Ohio take advantage of the new RE-SID laws. With a proposed off-shore wind farm off the coast of Lake Erie and some of the largest wind and solar farms in the nation being already constructed, this is another example of how Governor Strickland has fulfilled his promise to move Ohio from the back of the pack to the widespread implementation of cutting edge new energy technologies to turn Ohio from a Rust Belt State to a Green Belt State.