AUGUSTA – The state announced Wednesday that it will receive $30 million in federal stimulus funds to establish an energy-efficiency program that will let homeowners get long-term loans through their hometowns.

In announcing the grant, Gov. John Baldacci said the stimulus would help jump-start the green economy in Maine.

State officials had hoped to receive $75 million from the competitive grant process. Maine’s award, however, was second only to New York’s $40 million. Michigan and Los Angeles County, Calif., also will get $30 million.

The money will create a revolving loan fund that a homeowner can tap through a mortgage administered by their hometown, if the community opts into the program.

The efficiency mortgage would take a second priority to any other mortgages on the property, and repayment would be made through property tax bills.

The system is modeled after one created in Berkeley, Calif., called the Property Assessed Clean Energy program, or PACE.

Although the program is considered useful for homeowners who want to install small-scale alternative energy generators, lawmakers joked that the program in Maine should be called PAW, to promote weatherization upgrades in a state where residents use more heating oil than those in any other state.

The legislation to introduce the system to Maine was sponsored by Rep. Patsy Crockett, D-Augusta.

“PACE programs are a great opportunity for property owners to weatherize their homes and save energy and money,” she said in a news release. “These federal funds will ensure that the programs can be a success throughout the state and more Maine people will have the ability to make their homes and businesses energy efficient.”


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