Adhering to Kane County's commitment to both the environment and economic growth through business development, the County Development Committee Chaired by Kurt Kojzarek has spearheaded the creation of the Kane Energy Efficiency Program (KEEP for short). This program, if adopted by the full County Board, would establish Kane County's version of the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program authorized by HB2831. We felt KEEP was less likely to be confused with PACE Suburban Bus Service.
What is KEEP? Great question. It is a financing option for commercial property owners to fund energy efficient upgrades to their existing properties. This voluntary program offers 100% funding through local bonds, essentially establishing micro Special Service Areas (SSA) for the property for improvements permanently affixed to the parcel. These improvements could include but are not limited to: heating, lighting, roofs, motors, boilers, solar panels, elevators and more.
The programs would allow an independent lender/investor to purchase a bond through Kane County to fund a local business in need of financing for the energy efficiency. The bond is then placed against the property and paid back as part of its tax bill over a period of up to 25 years. Kane County then remits the funds collected from the property owner to the lender/investor. If the owner of the property sells during the payback period, then the bond would stay with the property and be assumed by the buyer.
While the program is currently available only to existing properties, there has been support from the County Board to ask the State Legislature to consider expanding the program to allow new construction as well as multi-family residential applications. It is our hope that once the program is shown to be a success here in Kane County, the State will consider its eventual expansion. For now it is our goal to develop a strong program within the parameters allowed.
Kane County is in the process of developing an RFQ for an independent administrator to run the program. It is designed with the cooperation and support of Kane County Treasurer Rickert to insure that it will not place an economic hardship on the County.