Arlington County will pioneer Virginia’s first Commercial-Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program—a public-private partnership to provide affordable, long-term financing for projects to improve the energy or water efficiency of commercial buildings in the county.
Under C-PACE, owners of existing buildings will be able to finance up to 100 percent of the cost of efficiency-enhancing projects, including renewable energy projects, for up to 25 years. Commercial property developers can use the program to finance up to 20 percent of the total construction cost of a new building, provided the building is designed to exceed energy efficiency standards. Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia currently allow PACE financing programs.
“Arlington is leading the way for Virginia with this innovative financing approach to sustainability,” said County Board Chair Jay Fisette. “Through C-PACE, we’ll advance several of the goals in our award-winning Community Energy Plan. And the ultimate benefit will be an Arlington that is innovative, competitive, resilient and energy-smart.”
The County Board approved the ordinance to allow the C-PACE program during its Nov. 18, 2017, regular meeting.
Properties eligible to participate in C-PACE include commercial, industrial, agricultural, nonprofit, and multifamily buildings with five or more units. Typically, projects financed through C-PACE result in energy cost savings that exceed the cost of repayment under C-PACE, creating positive cash flow for owners. Moreover, financing is tied to properties, not owners, which means an owner is not required to sign a personal guarantee and the C-PACE assessment can transfer to a new owner upon sale.
SRS to independently administer the program
After a competitive search process, Arlington selected Sustainable Real Estate Solutions (SRS) to serve as the independent administrator of the C-PACE program. SRS will handle outreach, education, project underwriting and quality assurance services. The company supports C-PACE programs in other states, including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island and Utah.
“SRS is delighted to help Arlington County bring C-PACE to Virginia,” said Brian McCarter, CEO of SRS. “The program costs taxpayers nothing, and, since it truly benefits all stakeholders, should create a steady supply of projects and jobs while reducing the county’s carbon footprint.”
The C-PACE program is set to launch this December and the first Arlington C-PACE projects are expected to begin in 2018. Those interested in the program can contact Rich Dooley, Arlington County Community Energy Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Scott Dicke, SRS VA C-PACE Director (email@example.com).