Commissioners OK program for commercial property clean energy loans

The Chester County Commissioners approved a resolution this week to activate the County’s participation in a program that will allow commercial building owners to borrow money for clean energy upgrades to their properties and pay the money back through an assessment on their property tax bill.

C-PACE, which stands for Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy, is a financial tool for commercial property owners to obtain low-cost, long-term financing for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation projects. C-PACE can facilitate a loan for a project by placing a voluntary lien on the property that the owner repays over a period of 10 years or longer.

C-PACE’s focus on promoting green projects helps further the County’s vision for Climate Action, which aims to reduce Chester County’s contribution to global climate change and equitably improve the health and well-being of the community. C-PACE will specifically help achieve the County’s goals to promote sustainable energy and energy efficiency community-wide. The Climate Action Plan can be viewed in its entirety here.

“After being among the first counties in southeastern Pennsylvania to pursue a C-PACE program, I’m excited for us to formally adopt this model and establish our own active program. C-PACE is mutually beneficial since it will not only help the local environment, but it will spur job creation and support for the business community by increasing investment in our buildings,” said Chester County Commissioners’ Chair Marian Moskowitz.

The Commissioners also authorized a contract today for program administration of C-PACE. The PP&L Sustainable Energy Fund (The Sustainable Energy Fund) will administer the program in Chester County and connect project developers to authorized contractors and lenders. The Sustainable Energy Fund has lent money throughout Pennsylvania for such programs for two decades.

“From providing investment to retrofit older buildings to help create even more jobs in an industry that’s already growing locally, Chester County’s local energy efficiency industry stands to benefit greatly from the formation of C-PACE,” said Chester County Commissioner Josh Maxwell. “It’s a natural fit and will help achieve multiple goals in preparing our county for the future.”

Pennsylvania is one of more than 30 states that has authorized C-PACE. Four public-sector and non-profit organizations have collaborated to develop the program in the state:  Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance (KEEA); Philadelphia Energy Authority; City of Pittsburgh Sustainability Commission; and Sustainability Energy Fund.

“I’m excited to see what our C-PACE program will bring to our community. C-PACE makes it easier for people to finance energy efficient projects and avoid many of the common financing barriers that prevent them from getting projects off the ground,” said Chester County Commissioner Michelle Kichline.

Details of the application process for the C-PACE program will be rolled out in the New Year, and will be posted on the county’s website,

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