Virginia is making it easier for localities to provide clean energy financing for building owners in their communities.
In 2020, the General Assembly authorized the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) to sponsor a statewide C-PACE Program. The bill (HB 654 sponsored by Delegate Nancy Guy) was signed by Governor Northam on April 8, and allows DMME to hire a third-party program administrator to oversee the program’s operation. DMME expects to begin implementing these changes July 1st.
Once the statewide program is launched, localities can opt in, using standardized ordinance language, program documents and guidelines. The statewide program will be optional for local governments and will operate alongside the already-established C-PACE programs in Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun Counties, and the Cities of Petersburg and Fredericksburg. Localities will still have the option of creating their own programs.
What are the advantages? A statewide C-PACE program will expedite access to C-PACE financing to building owners and provide scale across Virginia’s 95 counties and 40 independent cities. Through private capital, this energy financing will play a role in achieving the objectives of the Virginia Clean Economy Act, Executive Order 43 and the 2018 Virginia Energy Plan. C-PACE provides 100 percent up-front and long-term financing for building owners. It helps pay for clean energy upgrades to buildings, including renewable energy and energy storage systems, vehicle charging stations and energy and water conservations projects.
By reducing time, cost and administrative hurdles, Virginia’s statewide C-PACE program seeks to provide faster and more equitable access to capital to building owners around the state, particularly in smaller jurisdictions.
Due to changes implemented during the 2019 General Assembly session, the statewide Program can also help property owners finance key resilience investments and upgrades. Resilience measures can reduce impacts to shorelines and operational disruptions associated flooding, storm events and sea-level rise. Because of this resilience component in Virginia, it may be more appropriate to call the program C-PACER (Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy and Resilience)!