Posts Authored by John Caleb Bell

Commercial buildings in NOPEC member communities eligible for PACE financing

Many commercial buildings have outdated lighting, windows, doors, HVAC or other features that, if updated, would dramatically reduce energy costs.  But how do you finance these improvements? If your project is in one of NOPEC’s 219 member communities, NOPEC may be able to help.  

Whether your project involves less expensive smaller improvements (like lighting) or more expensive larger improvements (like HVAC systems), property owners can access financing through the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program for a single property or multiple sites. NOPEC provides the upfront financing to complete the improvements based on project costs and an energy assessment/audit that identifies savings opportunities.

The borrower repays the loan through an assessment that’s been placed on the now-improved property. It’s paid twice a year and is listed on the tax duplicate as an assessment. The assessment period will be based, in part, on the projected savings and useful life of the assets financed.

This fixed-rate loan program is available for many types of commercial property: for-profit (including retail and office) and non-profit, industrial, commercial housing and government facilities. Eligible facilities can be owner-occupied, rental properties or vacant, if future tenants are secured.  And there are no job creation requirements. This financing solution is available for projects from $100,000 to $500,000 in NOPEC’s member communities.

If you’re interested in learning more about NOPEC’s energy efficiency financing, contact Norma Fox Horwitz, Special Projects Manager, at nfhorwitz@nopecinfo.org or call 440.249.7829.

Financial Incentives, Regional Updates

First PACE project in Sycamore Township completed

Kids First Sports Center is the first building in Sycamore Township to complete an energy efficiency project with PACE financing, the Cincinnati Business Courier reports. The 108,000-square-foot youth sports facility and preschool “used PACE to finance a $650,000 energy improvement project that included the installation of rooftop solar energy panels . . . the replacement of fluorescent lighting with LED lighting and the installation of new insulation panels in the facility’s gymnasium,” according to the article. In a press release, Kids First owner Jeff Metzger said the improvements “will reduce the facility’s energy costs by 50 percent” and called PACE “a tremendous approach to improving buildings and the environment.” Bricker & Eckler served as PACE counsel for the project. The PACE program provides financing for the total cost of energy projects, and the loans are repaid through special assessments on the property’s tax bill (see our Energy SIDs & Pace Financing Resource Center). For more, read the full article

Financial Incentives, Regional Updates, State Updates

Federal guidance announced for residential PACE programs

On July 19, 2016, the White House announced the Clean Energy Savings For All Initiative, a new partnership among several federal agencies designed to increase access to solar energy and promote energy efficiency. The new initiative has a goal of bringing 1 gigawatt (GW) of solar to low- and moderate- income families by 2020 through collaboration with state and local groups. 

The White House also announced new steps that the federal agencies involved with the initiative are taking to promote energy efficiency financing. For example, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) are releasing guidance regarding how Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs can be used in conjunction with residential mortgages insured by the VA or the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). The Department of Energy (DOE) is releasing an updated draft of its Best Practices Guidelines for Residential PACE Financing that includes protections to consumers who voluntarily opt into residential PACE programs, as well as lenders who hold mortgages on residential properties with PACE assessments. The DOE is also providing assistance to support the design and implementation of new PACE programs, and creating the Community Solar Challenge to promote the development of innovative models that increase access to solar and energy efficiency programs, particularly in low-income communities. 

For more, read the full White House press release.

Federal Updates, Financial Incentives