The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy (DMME) is encouraging local governments to create public-private partnerships that allow building owners to finance 100 percent of the upfront cost of energy and water efficiency upgrades and renewable energy systems with very low out-of-pocket expenses.
Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy, or C-PACE, is voluntary for building owners, and loans are provided by private capital providers and lenders–so starting a C-PACE program does not require a local government to issue bonds or add debt. Benefits to local governments include creating high-wage jobs, community revitalization, and retaining and attracting businesses. The Virginia market is poised for growth: in January of this year, Arlington County launched Arlington C-PACE, the first C-PACE program in the Commonwealth, and others are expected to follow.
To start a program, counties must pass an enabling ordinance, as established in 2015 by Virginia State Code (§15.2–958.3). The C-PACE loan security is established through a special assessment lien on the property. The property owner repays the special assessment on the property tax bill. Most of the day-to-day operations of a C-PACE program can be undertaken by a private or not-for-profit program administrator (PA). The PA will offset its costs through fees charged to building owners to participate. Local governments may procure a C-PACE PA administrator through competitive solicitation (Request for Proposals), or may pursue cooperative procurement with Arlington County.
The Mid-Atlantic PACE Alliance (MAPA) is a regional partnership of C-PACE program sponsors, administrators and other organizations developed to advance C-PACE in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. MAPA recently released the Regional C-PACE Toolkit, a comprehensive resource for local governments, with guidance, best practices, and example documents for developing a C-PACE program. As another helpful resource, the Virginia Energy Efficiency Council has developed a C-PACE program model ordinance.
Local government representatives with questions about C-PACE or MAPA, are encouraged to contact Daniel Farrell, Energy Financing Program Manager at 804.692.3207, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
VACo Contact: Joe Lerch, AICP