PACE Is Crucial for Growing Commercial Real Estate Solar Markets

Commercial real estate remains an area of unfulfilled solar potential. Most deployment in this sector has been constrained to properties where large, creditworthy entities own or have long-term leases and sufficient control of the property to support the credit requirements of solar project developers and their financiers.

Luckily, a range of financing innovations has recently evolved to open untapped solar sectors. One of the most promising is property-assessed clean energy (PACE), via which a loan on a solar system can be repaid via a property tax assessment. A PACE loan stays with the property, not the tenant, and offers the ability to underwrite a project with a short-term tenant or other unrated offtaker.

According to PACENation, an association dedicated to opening PACE financing, PACE financiers invested $252 million in 734 commercial buildings across 14 states. More than half of those projects have included renewable energy improvements. GTM wrote in December 2015 that over $1 billion has been invested in entities that finance commercial PACE, or C-PACE, projects, so there should be ample investment capital for good projects in PACE-friendly locations.

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