On Tuesday, October 29, 2019, Lawrence County Commissioners approved a resolution to implement Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE). The Commissioners approved C-PACE to help local commercial, industrial, and agricultural property owners obtain low-cost, long-term financing for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation projects.

C-PACE is a financial tool that facilitates private financing for energy conservation measures by placing a voluntary payment on the property’s annual tax bill to repay the cost of the project. Pennsylvania is one of more than 30 states that have enabled C-PACE. Four Pennsylvania-based, public-sector organizations collaborated to develop Pennsylvania’s C-PACE program: Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance (KEEA), Philadelphia Energy Authority, City of Pittsburgh Sustainability Commission, and Sustainable Energy Fund.

“C-PACE is a win-win-win for Pennsylvania communities,” said KEEA Western Pennsylvania Program Manager Matt Mahoney. “It makes financing energy efficiency easier, which means more work for companies that retrofit buildings, sell high-efficiency equipment, and design smart buildings.”

According to PACENation, a group supporting the growth of C-PACE, more than $1.1 billion has been invested across the nation using C-PACE loans. In Pennsylvania, C-PACE investment will help retrofit one of the nation’s oldest building stocks and accelerate the growth of the local energy efficiency industry that already accounts for over 68,000 jobs.

“Energy efficiency and clean energy projects are an excellent way to revitalize Lawrence County’s commercial building stock,” said Jonathan Bruce, COO of Bruce & Merrilees Electric, which is headquartered in New Castle. “We look forward to serving the needs of our local commercial, industrial, and agricultural property owners who want to upgrade their facilities using the county’s new C-PACE program,”

Now that a resolution has been passed, Lawrence County commercial and industrial properties, agriculture interests, and nonprofits, with the aid of private capital providers, can finance clean energy, energy efficiency, and water conservation projects. The C-PACE program, offering as much as 100% financing, will save local properties money and energy.

Lawrence County Regional Chamber of Commerce director Alex McCoy said the program also is in place in Georgia, Florida and Maryland, and that it is another tool for the county to give business developers additional incentive. C-PACE allows a special tax assessment so the building alone is not the collateral, he said.

“In New Castle, with the older buildings here, owners can take out PACE loans to make buildings more efficient,” he said. “The energy savings usually is more than the cost of the financing.”

Lawrence County named Sustainable Energy Fund (SEF) to administer the program. SEF is positioned to administer C-PACE at no cost for any interested counties in Pennsylvania. For more information on program development, program guidelines, and links to the pre-application, visit PennsylvaniaCPACE.org. If you have a project and would like assistance finding a contractor or capital provider contact SEF at (610) 264-4440.

“Sustainable Energy Fund is proud to offer its 20 years of experience in clean energy lending to Lawrence County, allowing them to take advantage of this powerful new energy finance tool for bringing investment, jobs, and clean energy to their communities,” said John Costlow, President of SEF.