Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) is an innovative way to finance clean energy projects on commercial, multifamily, and nonprofit buildings (excluding condos and properties with less than five dwellings). Implementation of C-PACE in Virginia localities is one of the VAEEC’s five policy recommendations outlined in our latest report titled “Why Energy Efficiency is a Smart Investment for Virginia.” C-PACE loans are designed to be long-term loans (up to 20+ years) secured by a lien that has a priority status equal to a tax assessment, thus senior to a mortgage lien. By setting up a C-PACE program, a locality can enable private sector loans for 100% of total project costs by placing a special assessment lien on the property that the owner repays over time as part of his/her tax or utility bill.
The VAEEC is a neutral, trusted resource for localities interested in C-PACE. We are actively meeting with local governments across Virginia to discuss all available options and help each locality determine which option best suits their needs. Contact Jessica Greene at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
C-PACE in Virginia
Legislation passed in the 2015 Virginia General Assembly, and signed by Governor McAuliffe, enables C-PACE loans in Virginia.
Over the course of the last few years the VAEEC has been intimately involved in stakeholder meetings to develop the guidelines and programs to implement C-PACE in the Commonwealth. Virginia joined more than 30 states and the District of Columbia in adopting PACE legislation.
In April 2016 Virginia Community Capital released a PACE Feasibility Study, the result of a grant from the Oak Hill Fund to explore the implementation of C-PACE financing in Virginia that included several stakeholder meetings.
There are several localities across the Commonwealth interested in developing C-PACE programs. Currently. Arlington County is the only Virginia locality with a C-PACE program. They announced the recipient of their program administrator in January 2017, passed the County Ordinance in November 2017, and officially launched their program in January 2018.
During a January 2018 Board meeting, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to direct staff to develop a C-PACE program structure, evaluate options for Program Administration, and draft an ordinance. These items will be brought back to the Board at a future meeting for consideration.
At the June 12, 2018 Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meeting, the Board Environmental Committee recommended that County staff draft a C-PACE ordinance for review and presentation at a future meeting. Meeting materials and presentations can be viewed on the Fairfax County website.
The VAEEC is committed to accelerating the implementation and utilization of C-PACE throughout Virginia. Combining efforts with other stakeholders, we are working to facilitate interest in C-PACE by building a coalition of supporters and engaging with localities to educate, work with, and encourage them to move forward with developing C-PACE programs.
In 2017, the VAEEC joined the Mid-Atlantic PACE Alliance (MAPA), which is comprised of state agencies, non-profit institutions, and private businesses working to accelerate the development and utilization of C-PACE in Virginia, Maryland, and DC. This effort, which is being led by the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, promotes the collaboration among local and state governments, capital providers, C-PACE program administrators, energy service contractors, and building owners to create low-cost, standardized guidelines that will enhance financing efficiency and increase the volume of C-PACE projects.
MAPA’s objective is to create a cohesive regional market consisting of commonalities in C-PACE program design, administrative structure, marketing, and customer access and perception. The goal is to achieve consistency and growth in C-PACE programs within the tri-state area to generate a minimum of $80 million in C-PACE loan closings by 2020. The Alliance will hold several public and private sector stakeholder meetings to collaborate and share best practices and identify and act on measures that result in the acceleration and uptake of C-PACE programs and projects.
Resources for Local Governments
This is an exciting time for C-PACE in Virginia, as more and more options and resources are becoming available for localities. The VAEEC believes that having a variety of C-PACE program options is crucial to accelerating the number of and demand for C-PACE programs in Virginia. By increasing the number of options available, localities are more likely to find a program administrative model that fits their goals and needs.
– Virginia Model Ordinance. In early 2018, the VAEEC released a Virginia model ordinance for localities to use when crafting their own program. The ordinance was commissioned following review and input from a wide variety of C-PACE experts in the lending, local government, engineering, legal, and policy fields. This document incorporates key factors that we consider to be crucial to implementing an effective C-PACE program. The VAEEC’s Virginia model ordinance can be downloaded here. An abbreviated ordinance was created by the Virginia PACE Authority (VPA) using this ordinance as their template. The VPA ordinance can be viewed here.
– MAPA Regional Toolkit. As part of its mission to accelerate the development and utilization of C-PACE in the Mid-Atlantic region, MAPA has created program implementation guidance. The toolkit is a resource for stakeholders, including but not limited to local governments, program administrators, building owners, contractors, capital providers, and local lenders, providing best practices specific to this region. For localities, the provided guidance and resources streamline efforts to develop and launch a C-PACE program. The regional toolkit can be viewed on the MAPA website.
– Arlington County Model. Arlington County’s C-PACE program is designed to enable other Virginia localities the ability to quickly and efficiently “ride” their C-PACE Program Administration contract with SRS. This option eliminates the need for a locality to go through their own Request for Proposals (RFP) process.
To learn more about C-PACE, read the PACE Market Summary or download the Full Report. You can also download VAEEC’s C-PACE Fact Sheet. If you would like to add your name to the growing list of PACE supporters, click here.
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