January 24, 2013

CT bares commercial green-energy funding

Solar panels were installed in 2009 at Mill Pond Village, a 360-unit apartment development in East Windsor's Broad Brook section. The solar panels were expected to generate 280,000 kilowatt-hour of electricity a year.

Connecticut commercial property owners now can upgrade their equipment and buy solar panels and fuel cells using a new financing tool launched by the state's green-energy promoter.

The Clean Energy Finance & Investment Authority announced Thursday launch of its commercial and industrial property assessed clean energy, or C-PACE, program.

Under the program, property owners can upgrade their facilities immediately and pay off the costs over time using the energy savings created by the upgrades.

There is no financing minimum, although CEFIA recommends it is best used for projects more than $150,000.

C-PACE enables property owners to take a low-interest loan out to make various energy efficiency improvements and have the payments of that loan come as part of the municipal property tax bill. If the property is ever sold, the payments are the responsibility of the new owner.

Improvements eligible for C-PACE include high efficiency lighting; HVAC upgrades; high efficiency chillers, boilers, furnaces, and water systems; energy management systems; building envelope improvements; and renewable energy systems including solar and fuel cells.

A dozen municipalities have already signed onto C-PACE: Hartford, West Hartford, Stamford, Bridgeport, Norwalk, Middletown, Durham, Beacon Falls, Windham, Simsbury, and Westport, the authority said. Property owners in those cities are eligible for the financing, while those in other areas must wait until their municipality opts into the program.

Project financers are: People's United Bank, Bostonia Partners, Ameresco, Clean Fund, Citigroup Global Markets, Structured Finance Associates, Urban Energy Advisors, and Wells Fargo Securities.

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