Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. hosted the second meeting of the New York State Intergovernmental Energy Partnership (NYS IEP), with Congressman Steve Israel and the Mayor of Syracuse Matt Driscoll.

The meeting provided Bronx-based businesses with information about how to access federal resources, such as incentives and programs in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and grant opportunities.

On Monday, October 26, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. hosted the second meeting of the New York State Intergovernmental Energy Partnership (NYS IEP), a group founded by Diaz Jr., Congressman Steve Israel (NY-02), the Mayor of Syracuse Matt Driscoll, and New York State Assemblywoman RoAnn Destito, to unite elected officials from throughout the state in moving New York forward as an “Advanced Energy Center.”

“I am proud to be a founding member of the New York State Intergovernmental Energy Partnership. The Bronx, through the efforts of my office, is a leader in energy work,” said Diaz Jr. “We have marketed energy audits to the borough’s small businesses, providing audit fee reimbursement to over 75 businesses; offered rebates for 125 electric forklifts at the New Fulton Fish Market at Hunts Point; established the Hunts Point Clean Air Transportation Shuttle Service utilizing hybrid electric buses; funded the installation, through grants and zero interest loans, of 235 KW of solar panels on affordable housing projects and Bronx businesses, among other green projects.”

This second meeting helped to provide Bronx-based businesseswith information about how to have access to federal resources, details on funding still available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, as well as New York State Energy Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) funding streams.

Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) talked to business owners about the introduction of legislation to support and expand Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Bond programs (H.R.3836). A PACE bond is a small municipal bond where the proceeds are loaned to commercial and residential property owners to finance energy retrofits and who then repay their loans over 20 years via an annual assessment on their property tax bill. Rep. Israel’s legislation will change the Department of Energy indirect loan guarantee program to provide 100 percent guarantees for PACE bond programs.

“PACE bonds are an innovative way to help property owners in New York ‘go green.’ With a little help to finance energy efficient retrofits, property owners reap an immediate savings on their monthly energy bills,” said Rep. Israel. “Imagine new solar panel installations on top of buildings across the Bronx and new efficient HVAC systems for homes. The money commercial and residential property owners would save goes immediately into their pockets, while they pay a small amount over time for these important improvements through their property taxes. I’m proud to be working with Ruben Diaz Jr., Mayor Driscoll and the NY State IEP on strategies for expanding clean energy markets in New York.”

According to PACE Now, an independent coalition of PACE bond supporters, it is estimated that the potential for PACE bonds could exceed $500 billion. For most energy retrofit projects, property owners can expect to see an immediate energy savings of 20 – 40 percent. PACE bonds finance energy efficiency upgrades, such as double insulated windows, as well as the installation of clean energy technologies, such as solar panels or geothermal heat pumps. Last week, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of Energy Steven Chu discussed PACE bonds as part of their “Recovery through Retrofit” plan.

During the meeting, Borough President Diaz also announced the purchase and installation in the borough of 15 BigBelly Solar Compactor/Recycling Kiosks, designed to reduce greenhouse gases produced by garbage trucks by eliminating truck journeys by as much as 80%. The BigBelly, the world’s first and only solar powered trash compacting receptacle, is manufactured and distributed by DEC Green Corp., a company specializing in green waste management solutions based in Hunts Point.

“One BigBelly can take the place of five trash cans. We are proud to announce that the Bronx will soon be deploying 15 BigBelly Solar Compactor/Recycling Kiosks as part of the Borough President’s green initiative,” said Franklin Cruz, President of DEC Green Corp, the manufacturer of the BigBelly.