C-PACE may help you close more projects

C-PACE for Registered Renewable Energy Contractors

How often does your sales team identify a potential new client, who, after expressing initial interest, shuts down because he or she is unwilling to self-fund the proposed project or take out a bank loan? If this sounds familiar, you’ll be happy to know that there’s a new way to pitch solar photovoltaic (PV) projects—and it’s proving very attractive to property owners. It’s called C-PACE—a new program that provides up to 100 percent financing, creates cash-flow-positive projects, and puts money in the property owner’s pocket. C-PACE empowers you to develop projects that:

  • Integrate long-term (up to 25-year) financing
  • Incorporate ITC and MACRS depreciation to maximize cash flow (where applicable)
  • Include a repayment obligation that can transfer to the next property owner in the event of a sale.

With C-PACE, commercial and industrial property owners often find they can utilize this new form of financing to:

  • Lower their energy costs
  • Increase the value of their building
  • Increase their cash flow.

In C-PACE programs across the county, this innovative, government-sponsored financing program has shown that it can remove the barriers that frequently stall your solar PV projects, enabling you to more rapidly grow your business.

How does C-PACE work?

Commercial property assessed clean energy, or C-PACE, is an energy financing program that has been adopted by more than 30 states, counties and cities nationwide.

The financing is provided by capital providers in an open market, which provides property owners with competitive, private financing.

The financing is secured through a voluntary benefit assessment and assignable lien that is levied against the owner’s property and repaid to the capital provider; the term is typically based on the useful life of the improvements and can extend up to 25 years.

Because the long-term financing can cover up to 100 percent of a building’s modernization project cost and often requires no money down, C-PACE typically enables property owners to make substantial upgrades to their buildings. The project’s energy savings will outweigh the C-PACE payments, which creates positive cash flow for the property owner, whose upgraded building may be more valuable after a C-PACE project.

What properties are eligible?

Properties eligible for C-PACE financing must meet two requirements. The building must be located within the legal boundaries of the city of Reno (view map) and have one of the following uses:

  • Commercial
  • Industrial
  • Multifamily (with 5 or more units)

New construction is also eligible for C-PACE financing.

There is no program-required minimum or maximum project dollar amount which may be financed; however, capital providers typically set their own minimum finance amount.

Which improvements are eligible?

Improvements that are eligible for C-PACE financing must be permanently affixed to the eligible property. This definition includes solar PV rooftop or ground mount installations. See a list of eligible improvements.

What is the Process?

Solar PV contractors are encouraged to attend a C-PACE workshop and become a C-PACE registered contractor. At the workshop you’ll learn how to engage with property owners to:

  • Discuss the benefits of a C-PACE project
  • Perform preliminary project scoping
  • Prepare proposals and review them with the property owner
  • Develop and optimize project scenarios for C-PACE financing
  • Install eligible improvements.

View the application to become a registered contractor. View a list of registered contractors. Note that by providing this list, the City of Reno, the City’s Program Manager, the Reno C-PACE program, and its Program Administrator are not recommending or endorsing any specific contractor. To view dates, times and locations for an upcoming workshop view the events calendar.

How do I get started?

If you have a project in mind, you can, in collaboration with the property owner fill out a project application and submit it to C-PACE. Alternatively, you can register to attend one of our half-day workshops to learn more about the C-PACE program and how it works (the workshop is free). Check here for upcoming dates, times and locations for our workshops. Registered contractors receive a complimentary company listing in the contractor directory on this website. Note that by providing this list, the City of Reno, the City’s Program Manager, the Reno C-PACE program, and its Program Administrator are not recommending or endorsing any specific contractor.

Questions? Contact us or visit our FAQs page to learn how C-PACE may help you grow your business.

What are the key steps in the C-PACE life cycle?

Below is an overview of the key steps in the C-PACE project life cycle. Click on the “>” icon associated with each step to view details.

Half-day Free Contractor Workshop
  • Learn about C-PACE program benefits
  • Learn about C-PACE contractor support services
  • Become a C-PACE registered contractor
Post-workshop Engagement
  • Prequalify projects
  • Prioritize your best prospects
  • Schedule meetings to introduce the program to property owners
Proposal Preparation
  • Collaborate with the C-PACE program representative to include relevant program benefits
  • Prepare a preliminary proposal
  • Review the proposal with the property owner
Preliminary Meeting with Property Owner
  • Review building financial prequalification metrics, e.g. loan-to-value %
  • Discuss building improvement needs and potential savings
  • Review mortgage holder consent process
  • Secure authorization to proceed to project scenario development
Project Development
  • Conduct building walk-through
  • Prepare feasibility study with improvement costs and savings estimates
  • Collaborate with the C-PACE program representative to optimize the project scenario including key assumptions of C-PACE financing
  • Present optimized project scenario to the building owner
Project Review Meeting with Property Owner
  • Review project proposal with property owner
  • C-PACE program representative may provide support to answer program-related questions
  • Incorporate any final revisions
  • Secure authorization to proceed to mortgage holder consent and project financing
Mortgage-Holder Consent
  • Property owner arranges a meeting with their mortgage holder
  • C-PACE program representative may provide support to answer program-related questions
  • Property owner obtains mortgage holder consent to record C-PACE assessment
Project Financing
  • Property owner engages with selected capital provider
  • Capital provider prepares financing agreement
  • Capital provider manages project closing
  • C-PACE program representative facilitates assessment recording with the City Clerk in the County Recorder’s Office
Project Construction and Commissioning
  • Property owner authorizes contractor to begin construction
  • Construction funds are disbursed per the terms of the Assessment & Financing Agreement
  • Contractor completes project installation
  • Property owner confirms project completion and acceptance
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