19 Nov Introduction to PACE Financing – NYC
The City of New York has endorsed PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) legislation to enable the flow of private capital to property owners. The program allows private capital to provide 100% long-term, fixed-rate financing for energy efficiency, resiliency, water conservation and sustainability upgrades through a special tax assessment.
New York City advocates for C-PACE (Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy) by adopting their underlying financing program. This makes NYC property owners eligible for obtaining C-PACE financing that provides capital for modernizing commercial buildings or developing new commercial assets with clean energy, water conservation and renewable energy improvements. As a proven financial instrument, C-PACE programs promote the use of clean sustainable energy by facilitating energy saving upgrades to commercial and multifamily properties.
The C-PACE program was created in 2019 as part of the suite of legislation known as the Climate Mobilization Act. The Act’s centerpiece, Local Law 97, establishes strict greenhouse gas emissions caps for covered buildings in the City. (See our detailed bulletins about Local Law 97 here.) In order to help building owners finance the energy efficiency retrofits and renewable energy projects expected to be necessary for building owners to comply with LL97’s mandates, the CMA also included Local Law 96, which established the C-PACE program.
What are the key features of PACE financing?
The defining characteristic of PACE is that eligible, private loans are repaid through a voluntary charge on a building’s property tax bill issued by the Department of Finance. The tax bill collection mechanism enables PACE financing to:
- Transfer to the new owner upon sale of the property, ensuring owners only pay for the energy savings they receive.
- Not accelerate; PACE loans will not require immediate repayment of the outstanding principal balance after a payment default.
What are the benefits of PACE loans?
- 100% financing with no out-of-pocket costs to the property owner
- Immediate cash flow benefits
- Recovery of landlord investment in improved tenant spaces, as the PACE charge can be passed through on most commercial leases
- Long term (often between 20 and 30 years)
- Competitive interest rates
- Quarterly or semiannual billing (depending on tax collection schedule per building)
Who is eligible for PACE financing?
Any commercial or multifamily (3 units and larger) building, including tax exempt non-profit and religious facilities, health care facilities, and industrial properties.
In 2019, The New York City Council passed the Climate Mobilization Act, which included several pieces of legislation aimed to fight climate change. The most impactful of these measures is Local Law 97, which requires most buildings over 25,000 square feet to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by implementing energy efficiency upgrades and taking other clean energy steps (many beginning in 2024). Concurrently, the Council approved a measure to implement a New York City Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program, allowing New York City building owners to access a valuable tool by which they can finance energy efficiency retrofits and other clean energy measures through an assessment placed on their property tax bills. PACE is an innovative financing tool that enables owners of eligible properties to finance up to 100% of renewable energy, energy efficiency and other resiliency improvements. Financing is provided by private sector funding with repayment terms that match the useful life of the improvements, up to 30 years, with no balloon payment. Owners repay the financing through a special assessment on the improved property. For more information on PACE Financing, contact us!