New law will make it easier for businesses to get capital for environmental improvements

A program that will facilitate the funding of clean and renewable energy infrastructure at commercial properties throughout the state was signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy this week.

Murphy said the Garden State Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy program, or C-PACE, as it’s known, will spur investment that will have a positive impact on the environment.

“C-PACE programs have been proven to be successful in many states,” Murphy said. “Establishing a C-PACE program in New Jersey is a decision that will lead to more businesses and landlords embracing renewable energy, climate resiliency technology and other clean energy measures that improve our communities, while saving money for New Jerseyans.”

The law requires the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to create a program to facilitate the financing of C-PACE projects.

The bill also allows certain local governments to establish their own C-PACE programs to facilitate the financing of C-PACE projects.

A C-PACE project is defined as:

  1. The acquisition, construction, capital lease, installation or modification of an energy efficiency improvement, renewable energy system, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, flood resistant construction improvement or hurricane resistant construction improvement;
  2. A microgrid or district heating and cooling system in which a property owner participates for the duration of the C-PACE assessment;
  3. A power purchase agreement with respect to a renewable energy system affixed to a property. The properties that are eligible for C-PACE financing are industrial, agricultural or commercial properties; residential properties containing five or more dwelling units; common areas of condominiums and other planned real estate developments; and properties owned by a tax-exempt or nonprofit entity, including schools, hospitals, institutions of higher education and religious institutions.

Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-Jersey City), a primary sponsor along with state Sens. Bob Smith (D-Piscataway) and Kip Bateman (R-Somerville), said the bill will help businesses.

“More property owners would likely be willing to make environmentally beneficial improvements to their property if they were able to access the financing to do so,” he said. “The C-PACE program makes it easy for owners to make these changes by eliminating upfront costs and providing a competitive long-term financing option.

“By offering this opportunity to property owners throughout the state, we can help residents take advantage of cost-saving measures that would also benefit the environment and resiliency of New Jersey. The program is a win-win for everyone involved.”

EDA CEO Tim Sullivan said businesses and the environment will benefit.

“The plan to create the Garden State C-PACE program aligns with Gov. Murphy’s clean energy vision by helping businesses, nonprofits and multi-family residential developers or property owners overcome the financial hurdles of implementing energy efficiency, renewable energy and climate resiliency measures,” he said.

“The NJEDA team is excited for the opportunity to reduce the financial burden of making these critical investments by alleviating upfront costs and lowering debt service payments. This will help property owners to preserve precious capital resources for other important projects.”