As businesses grow they must boost efficiency. Reducing energy costs is a reliable way to trim overhead costs and increase competitiveness. But some businesses hesitate to make larger energy-saving improvements when their initial investment will also be larger.
“We may outgrow this space in a couple of years,” they say. “What happens to our investment then?” Fair point.
Now there is a type of financing developed for commercial property owners and renters that are exploring significant energy upgrades.
The State of Minnesota Property Assessment Clean Energy (PACE) program allows eligible businesses and nonprofit organizations to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy systems, and make payments in the form of a voluntary assessment to the property. The program pays for the project costs directly—yeah!—and then collects installments through the property tax bill.
When the property changes hands, the energy efficiency assessment stays with the property, as assessments typically do. Until then, the commercial property owner or renter can rake in the energy savings!
The Minnesota Department of Commerce website lists two PACE funding programs:
PACE of MN Program: Administered by the Saint Paul Port Authority, this statewide PACE program offers agricultural, commercial or industrial businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations the opportunity to finance energy efficiency or renewable energy systems affixed to an eligible property through a special assessment placed onto the property’s tax statement.
Minnesota Rural Energy Board (MREB) PACE Program: Administered by the Southwest Regional Development Commission on behalf of the MREB, this program offers agricultural, commercial, and industrial businesses within the 18 county MREB territory the opportunity to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy systems affixed to an eligible property through a special assessment placed on the property’s tax statement. This program was made possible by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Minnesota Department of Commerce through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).
So pick up the PACE, Minnesota! Minnesota Energy Smart is your go-to team when you are looking for sources of funding for energy improvements. Some projects qualify for grants or low-interest loans, and nearly all qualify for utility company rebates. Energy Smart will help you take advantage of all the financing for which you qualify.