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

What is C-PACE?

RI Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) is a financing program for commercial, industrial, agricultural, non-profit and multifamily (with 5 or more units) properties. C-PACE enables building owners to finance 100% of eligible energy efficiency, renewable energy, water conservation, environmental health and environmental safety improvements with repayment terms consistent with the useful life of the improvements, generally of up to 25 years.

Repayment is facilitated through the municipal property tax assessment process. A voluntary assessment (similar to a sewer district assessment) is placed on the building owner’s property tax or other municipal bill. The assessment is repaid over the financing term (up to 25 years, project dependent) 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.

What building improvements are eligible for C-PACE financing?

The following list of typical, long-standing, proven efficiency and conservation technologies is intended as a reference list for C-PACE applicants. If a specific improvement is not included on this list, The program administrator will review other proposed improvements and accept or reject them on a case-by-case basis.

Energy efficiency

  • Automated building controls (BMS, EMS)
  • Boilers, chillers and furnaces
  • Building envelope (insulation, glazing, windows, etc.)
  • High efficiency lighting
  • Hot water heating systems
  • HVAC upgrades
  • Roof replacement
  • Variable speed drives on motors, pumps and fans.

Renewable energy

  • Combined heat and power (CHP) systems
  • Fuel cells
  • Geothermal systems
  • Hydroelectric systems
  • Small wind systems
  • Solar PV
  • Solar thermal.
  • Renewable energy.

Water conservation

  • Irrigation systems
  • Low-flow fixtures (faucets, toilets, etc.).

Environmental health & safety

  • Asbestos & lead abatement

Other eligible expenses

  • Commissioning costs
  • Construction costs related to an eligible improvement
  • Energy audit costs
  • Engineering and design expenses
  • Measurement & verification costs
  • Permit fees
  • Renewable energy feasibility study costs.

This list is not comprehensive and any improvements that result in utility cost savings, that meet other program criteria, will be considered under C-PACE.  See the C-PACE Program Guide, Section 3.B. Eligible Projects, for more information.

Who administers C-PACE?

After a competitive bidding process, the RIIB selected Sustainable Real Estate Solutions, Inc. (SRS) to be the RI C-PACE program administrator.

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

While many building owners need to upgrade their buildings, too often financial constraints get in the way.  C-PACE financing solves the financial issues by providing: 100% financing for a term consistent with the useful life of the improvements, generally up to 25 years. The benefits include:

  • Competitive, fixed interest rates
  • Zero out of pocket expense
  • Qualification for financing is based on the building’s financial health, not the owner’s personal credit or personal guarantees
  • Decreased utility expenses from reduced electricity, fuel and water usage produce cash flow positive projects
  • C-PACE assessment payment obligation transfers to the new owner when the property is sold

Given the extraordinary benefits of C-PACE financing, owners and contractors can expand any energy related plan to include renewable energy equipment, water conservation measures, asbestos abatement and other related environmental health and safety improvements.

 

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

Visit the Participating Municipalities page of this website for a current list of municipalities participating in the C-PACE program. C-PACE may only accept applications from property owners located in counties that have joined the program by passing a simple “opt-in” resolution. Feel free to email us at info@RI-CPACE.com if you have questions about getting your municipality to join C-PACE.

Does C-PACE use taxpayer dollars to fund projects?

No. C-PACE uses private capital to fund every project.  Visit the Capital Providers page of this website for a current list of capital providers participating in the C-PACE program. The cost 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 C-PACE assessments considered “off balance sheet”? Is there clarity on the treatment of C-PACE 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 C-PACE assessment placed on the property?

Upon closing of C-PACE financing, the program administrator instructs the municipal tax assessor to record an assessment (lien) on the municipality’s land records

Is this a voluntary program?

Yes. Using a C-PACE financing is completely voluntary.  Owners that choose not to participate remain unaffected.

How do building owners qualify for financing?

Qualifying for C-PACE financing is primarily based on:

  • The property’s estimated market value (assessed or appraised)
  • The amount of the property owner’s equity in the property, e.g. loan-to-value %
  • The property owner’s recent mortgage and property tax payment history
  • The dollar value of the proposed energy and/or water-saving improvements.
How much can a building owner borrow using C-PACE financing?

C-PACE projects typically range from $200,000 to over $1.0 million.  Constraints on the amount of C-PACE financing is driven by the financial health of the building and include:

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

To ensure the best possible terms, including interest rate and other fees, the building owner will typically review term sheets from multiple C-PACE participating private capital providers.  Upon review of financing term sheets the owner will select “best-fit” financing for their project.

How is the length of the repayment period determined?

Repayment periods can be 10, 15, 20, or 25 years, depending on the owner’s preference, and are limited by the weighted average effective useful life (EUL) of the financed improvements.

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

Property owners are encouraged to pursue available Federal Investment Tax Credits (ITC), utility rebates and any other incentives. All or a portion of total incentives may be subtracted from the amount financed under the C-PACE Program.

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

Each C-PACE participating private capital provider will set their own terms, including pre-payment, in their financing agreement with the building owner.  It is common for most 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 C-PACE registered contractor.   For more information on the registered contractor process see the C-PACE Program Guidelines or email us at info@RI-CPACE.com

Is there an application fee for C-PACE?

No there is no fee to apply for C-PACE financing.

How do I apply for C-PACE financing for my project?

To apply for C-PACE financing, download the Application Form from the building owners “how it works”  page of this website.  Upon Application Form completion, submit the completed application and all attachments via email to application@RI-CPACE.com