Financing and Lending to Make Commercial Solar a Reality

Vaisala’s unique system includes two rooftop arrays and a striking vertical façade. Credit: Namaste Solar.

By Rachel Mountain, co-owner and director of commercial sales

Rachel Mountain

Solar offers a significant economic benefit for commercial property owners while also positively impacting the environment and offering a path to compliance with new municipal requirements like Energize Denver.

There are multiple financing and lending options available locally to help achieve financial success for your project. When you work with a trusted local solar installer, they’ll be familiar and able to navigate this landscape for you and your commercial solar project.

Colorado C PACE Program

The Colorado C-PACE program helps building owners complete energy efficiency and renewable energy improvement projects with terms up to 25 years, which aligns well with the life of a solar PV system. This private form of non-recourse financing is tied to the property via a special tax assessment facilitated by the county, so it transfers to the next owner if the property is sold. Because the debt is repaid on property taxes, this financing vehicle is particularly advantageous for NNN leases whereby the tenant uses a portion of their utility savings from solar to pay the CPACE note.

The Colorado Clean Energy Fund

The Colorado Clean Energy Fund (CCEF) is a nonprofit investment fund offering loan products that support access to clean energy and energy efficiency improvements for individuals and businesses in Colorado. Some of the financing options they offer for commercial properties include the Energy Project Accelerator Loan (Energy PAL), Clean Conversion Loan, and Bridge Loan. Taking advantage of these products will enable you to improve your building’s efficiency, reduce utility expenses, and keep up with market demand for more green buildings.

Energy Pal

Energy PAL is a short-term loan program that closes financing gaps for smaller projects that are otherwise difficult to finance. Businesses and tax-exempt organizations can leverage up to $500,000 with fixed rates and terms between two-10 years. Access to funding is quick, and the loan is secured via a filing on the equipment instead of a lien on the property.

Clean Conversion Loan

The Clean Conversion product offers longer terms of up to 15 years and up to $1 million in funding. It can be a flexible alternative to C-PACE given it’s secured by a subordinate lien on the property.

Bridge Loan

The Bridge Loan covers any out-of-pocket expenses that may be required while an owner awaits grant funding, the tax credit, or any gap on timing from other funding sources. For example, a Bridge Loan is suitable for a nonprofit that receives a grant for 70% of the system’s price and is on the hook for the remaining 30% while they await the tax credit direct payment under the Inflation Reduction Act.

Commercial Solar is a Big Investment, But Not an Overwhelming One

Overall, you have quite a few options to finance your commercial solar project. Solar is a big investment, but it doesn’t need to be an overwhelming one. It’s simply a way to earn a return, make a positive environmental impact, and differentiate your business just by taking advantage of your unused rooftop!

Finding a Local Partner to Design and Build Your Project

Commercial solar projects are an investment for your business, so you don’t want just anyone managing this project. Work with a trusted local installer who has experience, can provide the design expertise necessary for a long-term asset, and can manage the local landscape to maximize your return on investment.

Rachel Mountain is a co-owner and director of commercial sales at Namaste Solar. Namaste Solar’s purpose is to transform energy and transform business. The company’s experienced solar advisors will consider your budget and project goals to provide you with reliable timelines and a thorough cash flow analysis. Look at their extensive commercial experience and see how they measure up.

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