Minnesota’s Unstoppable PACE

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Are you familiar with PACE? This innovative financing tool has made big waves in Minnesota’s clean energy marketplace, particularly in recent months due to a policy fix that CEEM advocated for in the last legislative session.

In September, CEEM and U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) hosted “PACE Financing – Stepping Forward” at Ryan Companies in downtown Minneapolis. The event featured Pete Klein, Vice President of Finance at the Saint Paul Port Authority (the largest administrator for PACE in Minnesota), and Rafi Golberstein, CEO of PACE Loan Group, who described the benefits of this low-cost, long-term funding option for energy efficiency and renewable energy property improvements.

Andy Stahlman, Solar Sales Executive from IPS Solar, and Jeff Seewald, Energy Engineer and Project Developer from Trane, also participated in a Q&A session with audience members.

Event attendees learned about the impact of legislation that went into effect August 1, 2019, which opened up the PACE program to new construction projects. The change has resulted in significant funding opportunities. Since the legislation went into effect the Saint Paul Port Authority has funded $11.4 million in new construction projects -- nearly half of the $22.5 million in total funding so far this year.

In addition, here are a few more PACE takeaways from the event particularly important to the clean energy industry:

  • Solar projects especially benefit from PACE financing on a cash flow basis given depreciation and the federal investment tax credit (see photo).
  • PACE can be used to finance project improvements that go beyond the current building code. This incentivizes property owners to make high quality and highly efficient investments that support the overall value and well-being of their properties and buildings.
  • Senior care facilities could soon benefit from PACE financing, and the ability to access new financing options could greatly improve health outcomes through advanced air solutions that control humidity.
  • Projects of many sizes – $30,000 to multi-million – can leverage PACE.

Cumulatively, the Saint Paul Port Authority’s PACE program has funded more than $70 million PACE projects -- putting our state 4th in the U.S. in terms of total funding -- and saved more than 183 billion BTUs. We look forward to the continued success of the program and are grateful to all of the speakers and partners who were part of this lunch and learn including Ryan Companies for hosting the program, The Energy Guy for sponsoring the event, and our co-host USGBC Minnesota.