Building owners are aware of the benefits of energy efficiency, yet many potential modifications are either prohibitively expensive or have a longer payback time. Capital has an opportunity cost, and building owners frequently opt to invest in other areas rather than pay for an expensive remodel. However, if adequate funding sources are available for these improvements, the savings realized can pay for themselves.
C-PACE stands for Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy, and it is a non-residential construction project financing instrument. There is also a residential variant known simply as PACE. Commercial buildings obtain cash for energy efficiency renovations or renewable energy systems through C-PACE financing, which is repaid through property tax assessments.
C-PACE finance can be linked with incentives such as rebates and tax credits when a building owner utilizes it for an improvement.
What Is The Difference Between C-PACE Financing and a Bank Loan?
The payback time is one of the primary distinctions between standard bank loans and C-PACE. While a bank loan must often be paid back in fewer than ten years, C-PACE financing can have a period of up to thirty years.
Some energy efficiency improvements have a short payback period and can be financed using commercial bank loans. Building envelope renovations and significant HVAC retrofits, on the other hand, need higher expenditures and longer payback times. In these circumstances, the normal savings are insufficient to cover loan payments on their own, and the building owner must wait more than a decade to realize net savings.
C-PACE programs are governed independently by states and must be authorized by legislation. However, because these initiatives allow for private investment, the state government does not have to contribute all of the funds. C-PACE has the potential to grow the market for energy efficiency and renewable energy while also providing a commercial opportunity. Private enterprises frequently participate in C-PACE initiatives as funders, consultants, developers, and so on.
The Benefits of C-PACE Financing for Commercial Buildings
It is not always feasible to employ a long-term loan to update a commercial property: the loan is used to upgrade a building, but the firm is accountable. When relocating before the loan expires, the firm must still pay for an update that is no longer in use. C-PACE financing, on the other hand, is attached to a tax assessment and can be transferred to the next owner when a property is sold. Companies can use this financing mechanism to improve commercial assets without being bound to them.
C-PACE financing, with terms of up to 30 years, is attractive for energy-saving solutions with a lengthy payback time. This provides businesses with additional alternatives for reducing energy use, and it also allows them to implement solutions with longer payback periods, such as triple-pane windows with low emissivity coatings or energy storage systems to supplement renewable power.
C-PACE funding may potentially make solar electricity more viable in some areas of the United States. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the major solar markets are now situated on the East and West coasts. These areas have costly power, which raises the value of solar output, and there are several rebate schemes and tax breaks available. Solar power is less economical in jurisdictions with lower electricity prices and fewer incentive schemes, where the payback period might surpass ten years. However, even under less favorable conditions, a commercial solar array erected using C-PACE financing can recoup its own costs.
Companies that wish to enhance their energy performance can benefit from C-PACE funding in two ways. The payback duration is far longer than that of commercial bank loans, allowing for a broader choice of energy saving solutions. A C-PACE loan is also tied to the property rather than the company and can be transferred when the building changes hands. Building improvements with extended repayment periods are not feasible with regular loans, but this is no longer the case with C-PACE financing.