HARLINGEN, EDC – The Harlingen Economic Development Corporation along with the Lower Rio Grande Development Council and the City of Raymondville Economic Development Corporation will host the Rio Grande Valley’s first Property Assessed Clean Energy Public Forum.

According to the Harlingen Economic Development Council’s (EDC) press release, Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) is a financing program that allows owners of commercial and industrial properties to obtain low-cost, long-term loans for water conservation, energy-efficiency improvements and renewable retrofits.

Terrie Salinas and Jonathon Blackburn.
Terrie Salinas and Jonathon Blackburn.

Jonathon Blackburn, managing director of Texas PACE Authority, said PACE provides an enormous amount of private capital that is now available for investment in business infrastructure in the Willacy, Cameron and now Hidalgo counties.

PACE offers long term loans for infrastructure that a property cannot normally get with a bank.

“That’s typically between 10 and 20 years,” Blackburn said. “Now the interest rate itself will be a little bit higher, but the payments will be lower. The idea with PACE is that the payment will actually be less than what you’re saving through your … upgrades [and] it ends up being a net positive to your operating income.”

Cameron and Willacy counties were the first in the RGV to adopt a resolution establishing PACE. In a press release. Lupita Gutierrez-Garza, chairwoman of the Harlingen EDC Board of Directors said they are thrilled to be part of the unique opportunity to showcase PACE to property owners across the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

“This program will not only help property owners improve the efficiency of their facilities and improve their overall competitive advantage, but it will help them become better stewards of our environment,” Gutierrez-Garza said.

Late last July, the Hidalgo County Commissioner’s Court approved the Resolution of Intent in support of the PACE program. Previously, the PACE was not passed because Eduardo “Eddie” Cantu, Hidalgo County Commissioner for Precinct 2, said approving a resolution because another county approved it was not enough. Since PACE’s latest work with Travis and Williamson counties, Cantu said he and the other commissioners got a better understanding and was ready to help the Lower Rio Grande Development Council (LRGVDC) move forward with PACE.

Terrie Salinas, economic development director for LRGVDC, has coordinated PACE’s introduction in the Valley.

The forum will be held in the auditorium in the University Center at Texas State Technical College in Harlingen 2424 Boxwood St on Aug. 18.