Rock Island County is offering the Illinois Finance Authority’s PACE Program to help businesses pay off clean energy projects via a special assessment tied to their property.
The county recently announced the creation of the new financing incentive for investors and entrepreneurs doing business within Rock Island County.
Renovating or constructing buildings for a clean energy economy is expensive, the county said in a news release. These clean energy projects will become more affordable for local businesses after the Illinois Finance Authority PACE Program was launched locally by a Nov. 22 vote of the Rock Island County Board.
Commercial property assessed clean energy (C-PACE) programs allow businesses to pay off clean energy projects on a long-term basis through voluntarily requested special assessments tied to the property. The C-PACE programs come at no cost to the county or city and they may terminate or suspend their programs at any time.
C-PACE a perfect fit
“We view the C-PACE program as an ideal financing tool for the county of Rock Island and our businesses,” County Administrator Jim Grafton said in the release. “The program is aligned with our environmental sustainability efforts while offering very attractive financing options for businesses and lenders. We believe the adoption of C-PACE positions in Rock Island County will advance our environmental initiatives while growing existing businesses and attracting new businesses.”
C-PACE programs are designed to spur investment in renewable energy systems and resilient building design. Any privately-owned commercial, industrial, non-residential agricultural, or multi-family property of five or more units or any property owned by a not-for-profit can take advantage of these new C-PACE programs for renovation of existing buildings and new construction of up to 25% of the value of the property.
Instead of asking a bank for a traditional loan secured by a mortgage, the C-PACE programs enable owners and developers of commercial real estate to secure long-term financing needs with a better form of collateral, the release said. That makes it less risky for lenders and allows businesses to push off initial costs and pay off projects over up to 40 years with fixed interest rates.
County seeks new businesses
“The new Rock Island County C-PACE program will benefit our existing businesses who need financing options for their expansions or renovations, and it will better position Rock Island County to attract new businesses,” Richard H. “Quijas” Brunk, Rock Island County Board chairman, said in the release.
Eligible improvements generally include fixtures, systems and equipment. Basically, anything that improves energy efficiency, promotes renewable energy, energy resiliency, or lowers water use is eligible, including electric vehicle charging stations. Examples of projects include renovating an existing structure into commercial kitchen space, upgrading older hotels, and new construction of for lease commercial workforce housing, the county release said.
Rock Island County is eager to see new projects come forward, Mr. Grafton said.
“This is a great tool that can provide long-term, low-cost financing for investment in northwest Illinois for projects that are greater than $1.5 million,” he added. “It has been a great pleasure working with the IFA to get this program in place.”
According to the IFA, the C-PACE Open Market Initiative administers the IFA PACE Program free of charge.