Displayed below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Click on the “>” icon associated with each question to view the answer.

What is Colorado C-PACE?

Colorado Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) is a program that helps building owners access private-sector financing to upgrade their building with energy efficiency, clean energy, and water efficiency improvements. With C-PACE, building owners receive up to 100 percent financing with attractive repayment terms consistent with the useful life of the improvements (up to 25 years). This typically enables them to undertake larger building modernization projects that addresses multiple deficiencies.

In well-designed C-PACE projects, the energy cost savings exceed the PACE payments, creating a cash-flow-positive project. By using C-PACE, building owners can reduce their operating costs, improve the value and competitiveness of their building, meet energy performance goals, and increase their cash flow.

Repayment is facilitated through the County property tax assessment process. A voluntary assessment (similar to a sewer district assessment) is placed on the building owner’s property tax bill. The assessment is repaid over the financing term (up to 25 years) and the annual energy cost savings will, in most cases, exceed the annual assessment payment. As a result such projects are typically cash flow positive in the first year. Because the C-PACE assessment obligation runs with the property, the assessment automatically transfers to the next owner when the property is sold.

Who administers Colorado C-PACE?

The statewide Colorado C-PACE program was launched by Colorado’s New Energy Improvement District (NEID), which was created by the Colorado Legislature in 2014. In 2015 NEID, through a competitive bidding process, selected Sustainable Real Estate Solutions, Inc. (SRS) to be the Colorado C-PACE program administrator.

What are the benefits of long-term Colorado C-PACE financing to building owners?

While many buildings need upgrading, until C-PACE, building owners had no good way to pay for it. C-PACE solves the financial issues associated with a building modernization project by providing 100 percent financing that is long-term, non-recourse, and affordable. Since the financing is based on the building’s financial health, the owner is not required to sign a personal guarantee. Once a project is complete, the building owner has a more valuable, more competitive building, lower utility bills, a more sustainable property, and, often, a higher net operating income if the project was designed to be cash-flow-positive.

How do I know if my county is participating in the Colorado C-PACE program?

Visit the Participating Counties page for a current list of counties participating in the Colorado C-PACE program. Colorado C-PACE may only accept Pre-Qualification Submission Forms from property owners located in counties that have joined the program by passing a simple opt-in resolution. Email info@copace.com if you have questions about getting your county to join Colorado C-PACE.

What’s the difference between a contractor and a C-PACE project developer? 

A contractor typically focuses on one or two aspects of energy efficiency or renewable energy, such as lighting, HVAC, or solar, for example, and can recommend and install the upgrades you need.

A C-PACE project developer, on the other hand, focuses on comprehensive retrofit projects. These firms will take a look at your entire building and model different project scenarios to help you determine which energy upgrades make sense and how best to finance the project.

Call a contractor if you know what your building needs and it encompasses only one or two measures. If you’re considering overhauling your building, though, a C-PACE project developer is probably the best place to start.

My building needs equipment replaced. Is it beneficial to add other improvements at the same time?

When you need to replace a roof, boiler, or other piece of equipment, it’s usually an unwanted expense. Add lighting or other measures that have better paybacks, though, and you may save enough on your utility bills to pay for the entire project. How do you know which measures make sense? Contact the C-PACE program director or a C-PACE project developer to learn more.

Does Colorado C-PACE use taxpayer dollars to fund projects?

No. Colorado C-PACE uses private capital to fund projects.  Visit the Capital Providers page for a current list of capital providers participating in the Colorado C-PACE program. The costs to administer the program is paid by program participants through a program administration fee that is included in the total cost of each project.

Are Colorado C-PACE assessments considered “off balance sheet”? Is there clarity on the treatment of C-PACE assessment payments as an operating expense from the perspective of the accounting industry?

Building owners are encouraged to consult their accountants on this matter.

From an accounting perspective, have any auditing firms concluded that the tax lien (which supports the financing) is not a liability of the owner or the building?

There has been no specific ruling by the Financial Accounting Standards Board on this issue.

When is the Colorado C-PACE assessment recorded on the property?

Upon closing of Colorado C-PACE financing, the program administrator instructs the county tax assessor to record an assessment (lien) on the county land records.

Is this a voluntary program?

Yes. Owners who choose not to participate remain unaffected.

How do building owners qualify for financing?

Qualifying for C-PACE financing is based on the property, and not the owner. The C-PACE program administrator will look at:

  • The property’s estimated market value (assessed or appraised)
  • The amount of the owner’s equity in the property
  • The owner’s recent mortgage and property tax payment history
  • The dollar value of the proposed energy and/or water-saving improvements.
What counties participate in the Colorado C-PACE program?

Visit the Participating Counties page of this website for a current list of counties that participate in the Colorado C-PACE program. The program administrator can accept Pre-Qualification Submission Forms ONLY from owners with properties located in a county that has opted into the Colorado C-PACE program. If you have questions about getting any county to join Colorado C-PACE, email info@copace.com.

How much can a building owner borrow using Colorado C-PACE financing?

C-PACE projects typically range from $200,000 to more than $1 million. Constraints on the amount are driven by the financial health of the building and include:

  • Building financials
  • Loan-to-value percentage (<80% LTV is preferred)
  • Other considerations of the mortgage holder.
What are typical Colorado C-PACE financing interest rates?

To ensure the best possible terms, including interest rate and other fees, the building owner can review term sheets from multiple private capital providers, facilitated by the program administrator, to select the best fit.

How is the length of the repayment period determined?

The total amount available to finance a new construction project in Colorado under C-PACE remains up to 20 percent of the total eligible construction costs. The term of the financing can be extended for up to 25 years.

For existing building retrofits, the maximum term will still be limited by the weighted average effective useful life of the equipment and can range typically from 10, 15, or up to 25-year terms. Only single measure projects with EULs of 25 years or greater would be able to take advantage of the longer 25-year term, items like roof replacement, solar PV, and elevator modernization projects.

How are tax credits, rebates, and utility incentives incorporated into Colorado C-PACE Financing?

Property owners are encouraged to pursue available federal investment tax credits (ITC), utility rebates, and all other available incentives. All or a portion of total incentives may be subtracted from the amount financed under the C-PACE program.

Are there fees associated with pre-payment of a Colorado C-PACE assessment?

Each C-PACE participating private capital provider sets its own terms, including pre-payment, in its financing agreement with the building owner. It is common for C-PACE capital providers to include a pre-payment fee schedule.

Can I use any contractor?

Yes, however it is important that your contractor become a Colorado C-PACE registered contractor.   For more information on the registered contractor process, refer to the Colorado C-PACE Program Guide or email info@copace.com.

Is there a submission fee for Colorado C-PACE?

No. There is no fee to submit a Pre-Qualification Submission Form for Colorado C-PACE financing.

How do I apply for Colorado C-PACE?

To apply, simply send a completed Pre-Qualification Submission Form and email to service@copace.com.

What is the County Servicing fee?

For the billing and collection support services rendered, the county will collect a servicing fee (not to exceed 1 percent of the periodic C-PACE assessment payments) to be paid by the property owner over the term of the C-PACE financing in the normal course of paying their property tax bill.

What is the program administration fee that will be added to each project?

Colorado C-PACE is designed to be self-sustaining. To ensure that the program fees charged to program participants are sufficient to cover the operating costs associated with administering the program, a one-time fee equal to 2.5% of the project finance amount (not to exceed $75,000 per project, with a minimum fee of $5,000 per project) will be assigned to each C-PACE project. The program administration fee is typically included in the total financed amount.

Are there any other fees associated with C-PACE?

Colorado state statute requires each property owner to submit a commitment of title insurance (satisfied by a limited property information guarantee (LPIG)) ordered by the program administrator. The cost of the LPIG title product is available in the Resources section of the program website, and this cost will be included in the project finance amount. The District will also include a $600 closing fee and recording fees. Capital providers may also include legal or closing fees specific to each project that will be included in the project finance amount.

Can projects be financed retroactively through C-PACE?

Yes. New construction and gut-rehab projects are eligible for C-PACE financing within 24 months from the certificate of occupancy. Refer to the Program Guide for additional details.

What are ineligible measures, and will C-PACE finance them?

In general, ineligible measures are those that a) are not permanently affixed to the property and b) cannot be expected to save energy or water or generate renewable energy. Read our technical brief for a more detailed definition of ineligible measures and whether they can be included in the C-PACE financing.

My county does not have zoning laws. How can I determine if my property is eligible for the C-PACE program?

The Colorado C-PACE program encourages participation from rural communities. Read this technical brief for information on how to proceed in an area with no zoning laws.

Are public buildings eligible for C-PACE?

They may be. Read this technical brief for detailed information, or contact the program administrator directly for an evaluation of your building.

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