Garden State C-PACE Overview
The Garden State Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (“C-PACE”) Program will provide a new form of financing for renewable energy, energy efficiency, water conservation, and certain types of resiliency-related improvements for New Jersey. The Program works by enabling eligible commercial, industrial, agricultural, and certain multi-family residential real property owners to access financing to undertake these kinds of improvements on their properties and repay the financing through the payment of an additional assessment to their municipality, similar to their real property tax. Projects financed through the Program will be secured by a special assessment lien on the improved real property. Like other benefit assessments, a C-PACE Assessment is a non-accelerating, senior lien secured by the property. The repayment obligation transfers automatically to the next owner if the property is sold and, in the event of default, only the payments in arrears are due, I.e., the underlying loan cannot be accelerated. In addition, the Program will require that any holder of a mortgage lien on the applicable property must consent to the C-PACE financing before it may be implemented.
Because the payment is secured by a senior lien, C-PACE projects are seen as less risky than typical loans, allowing capital providers to lend at lower interest rates than would otherwise be the case. Moreover, due to the security arrangements for the loan, capital providers are willing to extend loans that are longer in duration, typically tying the loan term to the expected life of the C-PACE project and its associated improvements. The longer loan terms result in lower periodic debt service payments, making it easier for energy efficiency, water conservation and renewable energy-related C-PACE projects to be cashflow- positive from the outset.
Assessments are a tool which municipalities levy on real estate parcels to serve valuable public purposes. C-PACE builds on a long history of using such assessments and serves a public purpose through reducing energy costs, stimulating the economy, potentially improving property valuation, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and creating jobs. Over the past decade, C-PACE programs in more than two dozen states around the country have proven an effective tool to attract private capital into the renewable energy, energy efficiency, and resiliency markets.