What is Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy

Upgrading Commercial Buildings with C-PACE Financing

C-PACE saves commercial property owners money on energy with no upfront costs

PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) uses the local government’s taxing authority to attach a voluntary Special Assessment lien to a privately-owned property in order to secure the financing of energy improvements.

Here’s a 90-second overview of C-PACE Learn more about C-PACE in Rochester 


PACE is a solution to several challenging problems in society today, including:

  • the high costs of energy
  • delayed maintenance resulting in under-valued building stock
  • local unemployment and under-employment
  • local action to address climate risk

C-PACE is financing used for energy efficiency measures and renewable energy in existing and new commercial buildings (including multifamily, nonprofits, agricultural). No public funds are used. The financing is attached to the property as a special assessment, like a sewer or sidewalk, except that C-PACE is voluntary.

When commercial property owners implement projects using C-PACE financing, the benefits include:

  • 100% private sector financing of hard and soft costs, with no out-of-pocket expenses
  • Savings on energy, immediately; increased asset value and net operating income (NOI)
  • Reduced carbon footprint and job creation, contributing to the community

Advantages of PACE over other types of financing include:

  • It’s non-recourse, so it’s not a liability to the owner, who can use their cash and credit elsewhere
  • It’s typically considered off-balance sheet and treated like an operating expense, not debt
  • Financing is long-term, over the useful life of the project, up to 20 years (other lenders do 7 years, max)
  • Energy savings more than cover payments, by law, so PACE is cashflow positive from the start
  • Where commercial tenants pay a portion of the taxes, they share in the costs and benefits of C-PACE
  • In new construction and gut/rehab, PACE can fill 20%+ of the capital stack for a lower cost than mezzanine financing or equity (PACE interest is 5-7%)
    Upon the building’s sale, the repayment obligation transfers automatically to the new owner
  • Energy efficiency/renewables investments made in the last 2-3 years may be eligible for refinancing through C-PACE

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Possible Planet’s mission is to facilitate the transition to a green, diverse, equitable, and inclusive economy by providing access to capital. We have a decade of experience with C-PACE and are available to assist the communities in its implementation, at no cost to taxpayers.

We differ from almost every other player in the C-PACE marketplace because we have a vision that leverages civic engagement. With the support of local government, economic development, business, and professional associations, we believe a buy-local C-PACE ecosystem could generate a robust and reliable pipeline of projects, providing local wealth-building, employment, and training opportunities.

What You Need to Know About PACE in Rochester and Monroe County

In New York State, PACE is:

  • Commercial only (includes office, retail, 5+unit multifamily, industrial, agricultural, and institutional/nonprofit buildings)
  • The typical project size is $400,000+ (smaller projects may qualify for on-bill financing)
  • Provides up to 100% of hard and soft costs for eligible upgrades
  • Requires senior lender consent, i.e., must be approved by mortgage holders (if any)
  • Fixed-interest rates for terms up to 20-30 years, tied to the average useful life of the improvements
  • Typically cash-flow positive from day one through energy cost savings
  • Must reduce carbon emissions

PACENation PACE Basics

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Step up to PACE

Contact Us for more information about C-PACE in Rochester

Direct Contacts:

Jonathan Cloud, Executive Director
Victoria Zelin, Director of Development

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