Guidelines issued for sustainable-energy funding

The loans are hoping to spur commercial property owners to invest in clean energy

The guidelines cover entities seeking low-cost, long-term financing for energy efficiency improvements through a program called C-PACE, Pennsylvania’s Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy program.

Counties, which ultimately determine financing availability, can use the guidelines to develop their own rules.

John Costlow, president and CEO of the Sustainability Energy Fund, said that while Pennsylvania counties can adopt whatever guidelines they choose, the model guidelines released will hopefully drive counties towards a consistent set of regulations.

This unified approach to financing clean energy is the result of a partnership between the Sustainable Energy Fund, the Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance, the Philadelphia Energy Authority and the Pittsburgh Office of Sustainability.

Among other steps, the C-PACE guidelines include a requirement that a qualified contractor and engineering professional work on all projects. In addition, only commercial buildings are eligible for financing under the program. Apartment and other multifamily buildings are not.

C-PACE loans can fund up to 100 percent of a project’s total costs. The loan is repaid through a fee tacked onto a property tax bill collected by the county, and then sent to the private-sector lender that originated the loan.

Costlow believes C-PACE will encourage property owners to invest in clean energy.

“A property owner may normally only get seven years of traditional financing on energy improvements,” he said. “With C-PACE, a property owner can get 15 to 20 years to repay, making for a positive cash flow with the energy savings.”

Costlow added that another benefit for property owners is the transferability of the loans.

“If you want to put a solar roof on, and you only keep the building seven years before selling it, you are only paying for the loan while you own the building,” he said. “The financing stays with the building.”

Joe Perpiglia, president and CEO of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Eastern Pennsylvania believes C-PACE financing could be a positive program for builders and property owners.

“We’ve always been behind energy efficiency building,” he said, “and if it turns out to be financially beneficial too, it would definitely be worth the effort to look into.”

Read the C-PACE guidelines.

LVB Business Events

Business Growth Symposium

Thursday, June 13, 2019
Business Growth Symposium

2019 Health Care Symposium

Thursday, August 01, 2019
2019 Health Care Symposium

2019 Healthcare Heroes Awards

Thursday, August 29, 2019
2019 Healthcare Heroes Awards

2019 CFO of the Year Awards

Wednesday, September 11, 2019
2019 CFO of the Year Awards