CT GREEN BANK: Program helps commercial property owners fund energy-efficient upgrades
Insports, a local indoor recreational facility, is among more than 90 Connecticut businesses and nonprofits that have used the Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program to secure long-term financing to fund energy improvements.
Insports is projected to save more than $1.8 million over the life of a project funded with $1 million in C-PACE financing. The work included solar panels, high-efficiency lighting, and heating and cooling improvements. Insports is a multi-sport facility on Trefoil Drive in Trumbull, off Route 111 and near Route 25 and the Monroe border.
The upgrades have improved lighting quality for customers and reduced the facility’s carbon footprint, according to publicity material from the Connecticut Green Bank, a quasi-public state agency that oversees the program.
No upfront costs
The C-PACE program offers commercial and nonprofit property owners long-term financing to fund energy improvements with no upfront costs and immediate energy savings.
To date, the Connecticut Green Bank has allocated more than $65 million for over 90 projects, ranging from boiler replacements to comprehensive solar and other energy-efficiency retrofits, for businesses and nonprofit organizations across the state.
Enhanced properties have included office towers, a shopping center, a performing arts center, industrial facilities, a recreation center, and nonprofit buildings.
The number of buildings that have received new financing from the program tripled from 2013 to 2014, going from 20 to more than 60 per year.
The Connecticut Green Bank was previously known as the state Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority.
‘Supporting economic development’
Bryan Garcia, Connecticut Green Bank president and CEO, said the program makes clean energy “more accessible and affordable to the commercial and industrial sector. We are supporting economic development and creating jobs, and the Connecticut Green Bank is leveraging limited public dollars to attract private investment.”
Genevieve Sherman, commercial and industrial programs acting director at Connecticut Green Bank, said building owners “pay no money down, realize immediate cash-flow savings, increase asset value, and retain tenants. The ability to spread payments over as many as 20 years allows deeper energy improvements, involving multiple measures with greater benefits.”
Energy savings pay the financing
Participating property owners use only part of what they save to repay their financing through a long-term benefit property tax assessment, typically spanning 20 years, according to a Connecticut Green Bank press release.
The property owner’s estimated energy savings, which are measured and verified according to technical underwriting standards, must exceed assessment charges over the benefit assessment term, as validated by the Connecticut Green Bank.
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Click below to watch a video on the Insports project:
A C-PACE payment obligation transfers to a new property owner if the owner who obtained the financing decides to move. Under a typical lease, C-PACE payments can be passed along to tenants, who also benefit from energy upgrades.
Participants using solar can benefit from 15-year, fixed-price renewable energy credit contracts and a 30 % federal investment tax credit for solar installations.
Lighting, HVAC, windows, boilers
In addition to solar improvements, C-PACE-qualifying upgrades include installing high-efficiency lighting; heating ventilation air conditioning (HVAC) improvements and controls; windows; variable-speed drives on motors, fans and pumps; and high-efficiency boilers, chillers, furnaces and water-heating systems.
Also, building-envelope improvements; fuel cells; energy-management systems; and other improvements that reduce energy costs in a building.
Details on C-PACE-financed projects, including videos, can be found here: www.cpace.com/projects .