Solar Financing Options
Although commercial solar energy systems are designed to reduce the cost of electricity, large-scale installations can come at a cost that most people and businesses simply do not have on hand. For this reason, there are many commercial solar financing options designed to pay for the cost of installation over a fixed period of time.
As a leading solar financing company in New England, Pope Energy offers custom-tailored financing options for commercial solar projects. For all of our installations, we leverage our local network of financers to find the best solution for the property owner.
Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (CPACE or C-PACE) financing is a form of financing for a commercial solar energy installation that requires state and municipality approval. To qualify for a CPACE loan, a solar energy system’s cost must be exceeded by the amount of the projected energy savings.
Instead of using working capital to finance a commercial solar energy system, a CPACE loan is paid back through a building’s property tax as assessed by the local municipality. In choosing a CPACE loan over traditional financing, the property owner is able to benefit immensely. CPACE financing offers:
- 100% Financing
- No Out-Of-Pocket Expenses
- Long-Term Financing (Up to 25 Years)
- Lower Energy Costs
- Cash Flow Positive Projects
- No Personal Guarantees
- Competitive Rates and Terms
- Owner Retains All Tax Incentives
- Combine with Utility Incentives
- Automatic Transfer Upon Sale
- Preserves Capital for Core Business
Throughout the US, CPACE programs have been adopted in roughly 30 states. CPACE financing is very popular in Connecticut and Rhode Island, while it is growing in adoption within New York and Massachusetts. Pope Energy works directly with CPACE program facilitators in order to gain project approval from local governments.
For those who own land, Pope Energy is able to put Purchase Power Agreements (PPA’s) in place in order to install commercial solar energy systems. In a PPA, Pope Energy handles the designing, permitting, financing, and installation of a commercial solar energy project.
Once the solar system is up and running on the building or property, the landowner is able to then purchase the power generated onsite at a rate less than the electric utility’s. PPA’s a great way to use a property to lower the cost of electricity and offset the building’s carbon footprint.
Each state in the northeast has its own solar incentive program with the exception of New Hampshire, which only allows net metering for projects one megawatt (1MW) and smaller.
Massachusetts has the SMART program, Rhode Island has the Renewable Energy Fund and Rhode Island Renewable Energy Growth program, and Connecticut has their large and small ZREC programs.
Maine has a burgeoning solar program that has started with the Maine PUC issuing orders for “buy-all, sell-all” compensation structures through the state’s utilities. Net metering and community solar programs also exist and are continuing to improve.
Vermont, through its Department of Public Service has numerous smaller solar programs typically less than 500 kW.
Nationally, the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) is still available for residential and commercial PV solar installations. In 2020, most commercial solar energy systems qualify for a 26% tax credit on the total cost of the parts and installation.
This percentage will drop down to 22% in 2021, before only being available to commercial customers at a 10% credit beginning in 2022. Currently, there is no limit on the total cost of an installation of which the federal solar ITC can be applied.
After an installation, commercial solar projects may be eligible for investment depreciation under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS). With MACRS, business owners can recover some of the costs of the solar energy system as it is an asset that will depreciate over time. If building owners have already applied for the federal ITC, some systems may have to settle for a lower depreciation rate.
At Pope Energy, we service solar customers throughout New England. Below are some of the commercial solar financing incentives in our home and neighboring states:
- Massachusetts – Renewable Energy Property Tax Exemption, Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) Program, Renewable Energy Equipment Sales Tax Exemption
- Rhode Island – Clean Energy Grant Incentive Program, The Solarize Rhode Island Program, Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), The Renewable Energy Growth Program (REG), The Renewable Energy Fund (REF), Property Tax Exemption, and more.
- Connecticut – Property Tax Exemption, Sales and Use Tax Exemption, Connecticut Green Bank Solar Initiatives, Zero-emission Renewable Energy Credits (ZREC), Shared Clean Energy Facility Program (SCEF)
- New Hampshire – 100% First Year Bonus Depreciation, Property Tax Exemption, New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC) Rebates, Sales Tax Exemption
- Vermont – Vermont State Investment Tax Credit (ITC), Renewable Energy Credits (RECs), The Commercial Energy Loan Program (CELP), Sales Tax Exemption
- New York – Property Tax Exemption, New York City Property Tax Abatement (PTA), NY-Sun Incentive, Sales Tax Exemption
In addition to federal and state incentives, there may also be incentives and rebates available through local municipal governments and utilities.
Competitive Commercial Solar Financing
Pope Energy has the experience, personnel, and network to obtain extremely competitive commercial solar financing options for building owners throughout New England. In addition to financing the project, Pope Energy also has the capacity to assist in every aspect of a commercial solar installation from design, sourcing, labor, permitting and more.
Have a question about commercial solar financing? Interested in working with a solar financing company? Contact Pope Energy for more information or to schedule a consultation. We install and service commercial solar energy systems throughout Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, Connecticut, New York, and New Hampshire.
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