A Finance Initiative of the Efficiency Maine Green Bank
A C-PACE program allows commercial property owners to access financing to undertake energy efficiency and clean energy improvements on their buildings and repay the investment over time. Like other project financing, a C-PACE mechanism uses borrowed capital from a capital provider to pay for the upfront costs associated with energy efficiency or renewable energy improvements. Unlike other project financing, the borrowed capital is secured by a property tax assessment with an associated lien on the subject property. The security provided by the tax assessment results in several compelling features, including longer-term financing and transferability of the repayment obligations to subsequent owners of the property. In turn, C-PACE financing strengthens the business case for investment in longer payback and deeper building retrofits beyond what may be possible with traditional financing.
C-PACE in Maine
In 2021, the Legislature enacted L.D. 340, An Act to Allow for the Establishment of Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy Programs (The “C-PACE Act”). The C-PACE Act authorizes Efficiency Maine Trust (the “Trust”), a third party contracted by the Trust, or a municipality that has adopted a C-PACE ordinance to establish a C-PACE program.
Efficiency Maine C-PACE
- Program Development
- Program Participation
- Program Guidelines and Supporting Documents
In preparation for the launch of the C-PACE Program, the Efficiency Maine Green Bank researched program design options, reviewed materials from other jurisdictions, met with national experts, interviewed Maine-based stakeholders, and held a stakeholder workshop. It then undertook a formal rulemaking process, adopting a new administrative rule governing the implementation of its C-PACE Program. The rule enumerates underwriting standards, quality assurance provisions, and how the program will be administered, whether administered by the Trust (or its agent) or by a municipality. The Efficiency Maine Green Bank also developed a set of program guidelines to spell out the operational details of its C-PACE Program and provide additional detail. This resource and other supporting documents can be found below under Program Guidelines and Supporting Documents.
Maine’s C-PACE Program was launched in the spring of 2023 and is available in a small number of participating municipalities. The Efficiency Maine Green Bank is currently working with several other interested municipalities to register to participate in the program.
All C-PACE projects within the Efficiency Maine C-PACE Program must be approved by Efficiency Maine. A project must be part of a commercial property located in a participating municipality (see section) in order to be eligible for C-PACE financing. Prior to seeking approval, all stakeholders involved in prospective projects are encouraged to review the Program Guidelines and Supporting Documents. An applicant may be the Property Owner, Registered Capital Provider, Technical Reviewer, associated improvement contractor, or any dedicated third party coordinating with the Property Owner, Registered Capital Provider, or Technical Reviewer. Before applying for the C-PACE Program, the applicant must ensure that it has a Qualifying Property and a Qualifying Project and has selected a Registered Capital Provider for C-PACE financing. Those seeking to submit an application for approval must follow the following process:
- Pay a Fee of $1,000 – The applicant must pay a non-refundable application fee of $1,000. This must be submitted by completing the following C-PACE Application Payment Form.
- Submit an application on the Efficiency Maine C-PACE Application Portal – The applicant will be required to fill in several project details and upload all application documents listed in the Application Checklist (Article IV, section 7) of the Program Guidelines. The Trust reserves the right to request additional information as necessary in the review of any proposed project.
Efficiency Maine may delay its review of the project until the Application Fee has been successfully deposited. If an application is incomplete or does not meet the standards defined within the program, the application will be denied. The applicant will have one additional opportunity to cure the application. If the application is denied a second time, the applicant would need to submit a new application and pay an additional application fee. All application fees are non-refundable.
For assistance in completing the application on the C-PACE Application Portal, applicants should refer to the Project Application Guide.
To track program updates, please subscribe to the Green Bank News and Updates list here on the Efficiency Maine website.
The C-PACE Act requires that municipalities wishing to participate in the C-PACE Program adopt a C-PACE ordinance in their jurisdiction. A municipality must also complete a C-PACE Municipality Participation Agreement with the Trust that establishes the Trust as the municipality’s C-PACE program administrator. A Maine municipality that adopts a C-PACE ordinance and executes a C-PACE Municipality Participation Agreement with the Trust is a “Participating Municipality.” A list of participating municipalities can be found here.
Municipalities interested in learning about the program can review the Municipality Participation Guide. Municipalities interested in becoming participating municipalities in the C-PACE Program should:
- Review the C-PACE Program Guidelines and Supporting Documents (below)
- Draft an ordinance (see Appendix B: Model C-PACE Ordinance)
- Execute a C-PACE Municipality Participation Agreement with the Trust (see Appendix C: C-PACE Municipality Participation Agreement)
Capital providers wishing to participate in the C-PACE Program must submit an application. When a capital provider is approved it is considered a “Registered Capital Provider.” A list of Registered Capital Providers can be found here.
To track program updates, please subscribe to “Green Bank News and Updates” list here on the Trust’s website.
Program Guidelines and Supporting Documents
- C-PACE Program Guidelines (PDF)
- Appendix A: Chapter 5: C-PACE Program Regulations (the Trust’s administrative rule) (PDF)
- Appendix B: Model C-PACE Ordinance (.docx)
- Appendix C: C-PACE Municipality Participation Agreement (.docx)
- Appendix D: C-PACE Assessment Agreement (.docx)
- Appendix E: Notice of C-PACE Assessment Agreement (.docx)
- Appendix F: Notice of Proposed C-PACE Assessment (.docx)
- Appendix G: Mortgage Lender Consent to C-PACE Assessment (.docx)
- Appendix H: Savings-to-Investment Ratio (SIR) Certification (PDF)
C-PACE@efficiencymaine.com or 866-376-2463