Maryland’s coastal cities, such as Ocean City (pictured above), may experience greater flood risk in the future. C-PACE financing can help.
Financing stronger communities: how a recent legislative update will unlock resiliency for Maryland
A landmark amendment, passed into law in March and effective as of 10/1/2021, promises to make Maryland one of the most innovative locations for Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy financing (C-PACE) in the country.
Currently active in Washington, D.C. and 26 states including Maryland, C-PACE provides property owners and developers access to low-cost, long-term, fixed-rate financing for clean energy and energy efficiency projects. Measures can be financed with no money down and are repaid as a benefit assessment on the property tax bill with terms that match the useful life of the equipment.
Under the approved expansion, not only would energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements be eligible for C-PACE financing, but so would water efficiency, environmental remediation, and resiliency projects. Advocates hope this update will contribute to an uptick in Marylanders using C-PACE to improve commercial real estate that is currently unsafe or is under threat from the effects of stormwater or sea-level rise – issues that will increasingly affect Marylanders in the coming decades.
Senator Katie Fry and Delegate Courtney Watson sponsored the bill. Fry and Watson are leading advocates for C-PACE in Maryland, and both have consistently supported energy and environmental legislation. MD-PACE Program Manager Jessa Coleman assisted Fry and Watson throughout the legislative process by providing expert counsel that helped shape the bill’s language and intent, even when progress was stymied by an emergency-shortened legislative session in 2020. Resurrected in 2021, the bill passed virtually unopposed as experts provided testimony of how C-PACE is helping to improve Maryland’s built environment.
Though Maryland is not the most populous state nor the largest in aggregate commercial floor space, C-PACE thrives in the Old Line state, amassing a total of $78 million deployed across 50 projects in the four years since lending began in 2017. During this period, the MD-PACE program enabled projects including retrofits of historical properties, construction of new hotels, and improvements to small multi-family residences, farms, churches, sports facilities, and storage properties. By permitting C-PACE to finance resiliency and environmental remediation projects, Maryland’s government is sending a strong message that commercial real estate plays an important role in ensuring the health and livelihood of the state’s people and businesses.
About the MD-PACE Program
The MD-PACE Program is sponsored by the Maryland Clean Energy Center (MCEC), a corporate instrumentality of the state of Maryland which advances the adoption of clean energy, energy efficiency products, services and technologies. MCEC leverages private capital to help homeowners, businesses, and government entities reduce energy costs. The MD-PACE program offers C-PACE financing to commercial property owners statewide.