A bill designed to provide Montana commercial property owners with easier access to private funding for clean energy and efficiency upgrades passed second reading in the Senate today by a vote of 35 to 14.
SB 245 would enable Commercial Property-Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE), a financing tool that allows property owners to secure 100% upfront financing for energy efficiency, water conservation, and renewable energy upgrades to commercial buildings. It is funded with private capital, not public money.
The program’s financing for upgrades is repaid as an assessment on the property’s regular tax bill over a term of up to 20 years. It is completely voluntary for individual property owners. C-PACE would apply to agricultural, industrial, multi-family, and non-profit properties.
Annual energy savings for C-PACE projects are designed to exceed the annual assessment payment, so property owners save money from the start. An energy audit is conducted to assess a building’s needs, and properties only qualify for the program if it’s determined they will save more in annual utility savings than they would pay on their annual assessment