Paonia Restaurant Finances Energy Efficiency Improvements through Colorado’s C-PACE Program

Lafayette, CO—Colorado C-PACE announced today that Chelsea Bookout and Shawn Larson will leverage C-PACE financing to support a comprehensive energy efficiency project for their community reinvestment property, located at 201 Grand Avenue in Paonia.

Energy efficiency upgrades to the 2,226-sq-ft building, built in 1936, will include: HVAC equipment, an on-demand domestic hot water heater, interior LED lighting, and a 20 kW roof-mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) array.

The owners had known for some time that the aging building was in serious need of renovations. Bookout said, “Our focus is to create a state-of-the-art building in downtown Paonia that can be a home to someone wanting to follow their dreams of opening a restaurant. There is also office space or gallery space available in the back of the building that we would love to see support the artists in our community. We are looking to sell or lease the space as a whole or as two spaces. Updating the buildings efficiency is a key first step in preparing the building for the future.”

Larson added, “We are committed to creating a sustainable building because Paonia deserves it, many of the buildings on Grand Ave are inefficient and outdated. Our main commercial corridor deserves to have a beacon to show what Paonia is really about, particularly as we are home to Solar Energy International (SEI) which is an amazing institution dedicated to training solar installers.”

For Climate Innovations Consulting Group (CIC), this was the company’s first project developed using C-PACE financing. CIC, a Denver-based solar PV project developer, had been looking for a project that could maximize the many benefits of CO C-PACE. Becky Alter, founder and CEO of CIC, said, “When Chelsea and Shawn came to us inquiring about installing solar on their building, we looked closely at the building’s existing energy systems.” She added, “It was immediately apparent that, in addition to adding solar, their bottom line would benefit greatly if C-PACE’s competitive long term financing was used to fund the replacement of other outdated systems in addition to the new solar PV system.”

CloudForest Software & Consulting based in Louisville, Colorado, was tasked with analyzing the energy efficiency improvements’ savings, using their Condense tool. Aide Fitch, CEO of CloudForest, said, “Our analysis showed the projected cost savings and tax benefits over the effective useful life of the equipment would exceed $162,000, providing a terrific return on investment for Chelsea and Shawn.”

Pueblo-based PACE Conservation Solutions, who came to the table through lender negotiations with CIC on behalf of the borrowers, provided the $116,560 financing for the project. Keith Willy, owner of PACE Conservation Solutions, said, “Small business owners and rural communities are underserved, and C-PACE financing can help provide much needed assistance to these owners and communities. This project is a great example of a small business owner leveraging C-PACE financing to better position themselves for future growth and dynamic recovery.”

About Colorado C-PACE

A program of the New Energy Improvement District (NEID), administered by Sustainable Real Estate Solutions, Colorado C-PACE facilitates financing for energy and water improvements in new and existing commercial buildings, including new heating/cooling systems, lighting, water pumps, insulation, and renewable energy projects. C-PACE offers long-term financing that covers 100 percent of the project cost and is repaid over a period of up to 25 years. The payments are structured as a regular line item on the property tax bill.  When a property is sold, the C-PACE assessment can stay with the property and transfer to the new owner, who enjoys the ongoing utility cost savings associated with the project.

About SRS

Sustainable Real Estate Solutions (SRS) partners with state and local governments to administer commercial property assessed clean energy (C-PACE) programs. Founded in 2010 by experienced commercial real estate and energy efficiency professionals, the company’s proprietary technology-enabled PACEworx™ Platform streamlines the management of the data-intensive C-PACE technical and financial underwriting process. SRS’s Investor Confidence Project-credentialed quality assurance methodology has facilitated more than $315 million in C-PACE financing nationwide. SRS empowers C-PACE public-private partnerships across the country. The company is based in Trumbull, Connecticut.