Displayed below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Click on the “>” icon associated with each question to view the answer.
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com if you have questions about getting your county to join Colorado C-PACE.
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.
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.
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.
Building owners are encouraged to consult their accountants on this matter.
There has been no specific ruling by the Financial Accounting Standards Board on this issue.
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.
Yes. Owners who choose not to participate remain unaffected.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
No. There is no fee to submit a Pre-Qualification Submission Form for Colorado C-PACE financing.
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.
Colorado C-PACE is designed to be a self-sustaining program once a certain level of deal-flow is achieved. The Colorado Energy Office has a limited budget to ensure that the program can cover its start-up costs.
To ensure that the program fees charged to program applicants are sufficient to cover the operating costs associated with administering the program, while still allowing for attractive overall costs associated with Colorado C-PACE participation, a fee equal to 2.5 percent of the project finance amount (not to exceed $50,000 per project) will be assigned to each C-PACE project. In addition, to cover the County tax assessors support services, the County will levy a C-PACE assessment servicing fee of up to 1 percent of the PACE assessment amount.
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.
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.
They may be. Read this technical brief for detailed information, or contact the program administrator directly for an evaluation of your building.