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The Coachella Valley creates a PACE district and selects Ygrene as an administrator

PALM DESERT — In a matter of minutes and without a word of discussion, the Coachella Valley Association of Governments’ Executive Committee voted unanimously Monday to form a special community facilities district, marking the official launch of its regional energy loan program.

The property-assessed clean energy (PACE) program will provide home and commercial property owners with affordable financing for eco-friendly upgrades to make their buildings more energy- and water-efficient, with long-term repayments linked to their property taxes.

PACE districts are similar to special assessment districts cities and counties create for public works improvements such as sewers, lighting and undergrounding of utility wires, but are voluntary. Individual property owners within a district can opt into the program; others’ property tax bills remain unaffected.

The committee’s vote also authorized the Ygrene Energy Fund, the Santa Rosa-based company that will run and privately fund the program, to file legal documents required for validation — a legal process that ensures all agreements signed under the program are legally binding. Read more.