The CivicPACE Program is working to support solar energy deployment by bringing property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing to tax-exempt organizations, such as nonprofits, affordable housing, faith based institutions, and schools.

Civic Power: A Primer on PACE-Secured Solar Power Purchase Agreements

For community-based nonprofit organizations like affordable housing developers, faith-based institutions, and others, financing solar projects can be a challenge. To address this challenge, we explore in depth how securing solar Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with PACE financing may offer a particularly useful tool for nonprofit organizations. Read the report now.

Why CivicPACE

Property Assessed Clean Energy offers a secure way to finance 100% of the cost of energy saving building improvements, like solar energy, using capital provided by local government or private lenders. Loans are repaid through a building owner’s property taxes over a period typically lasting twenty years. By the end of 2013, the cumulative value of projects financed via commercial property-assessed clean energy (PACE) reached nearly $60 million – almost five times the amount seen just two years prior.1

Nevertheless, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates Commercial PACE is likely to attain only 5% of commercial solar financing over the next few years.2 Broader use of this financing mechanism is limited, in part, by the tax-exempt ownership structures of many property owners (e.g., non-profit affordable housing owners, educational institutions, and faith-based institutions), that creates weak security for project underwriting. PACE financing provides a critically needed tool for directly addressing these underwriting and access challenges for otherwise economically beneficial projects.

CivicPACE is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office.

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The CivicPACE program is currently working to produce resources that can help educate local jurisdictions and stakeholders on pathways to extend PACE financing to civic organizations. Learn more about PACE for nonprofits from the nations PACE association, PACENation, and explore their directory using the “PACE for nonprofits” tag to find PACE industry members and program administrators who can work with nonprofits to take advantage of PACE.

If your jurisdiction is interested in addressing specific questions with regard to CivicPACE, please contact us.

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[1] Klimovich et al, PACENow. (2014). “Setting The PACE 2.0 – Financing Commercial Retrofits.” See Johnson Controls

[2] Ardani et al, National Renewable Energy Laboratory. (2013, August). “Non-Hardware (“Soft”) Cost-Reduction Roadmap For Residential And Small Commercial Solar Photovoltaics, 2013 -2020” See NREL