The beautiful and historical Serenity Farm will soon be improved by the installation of a solar array on the property.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 30th, 2020
The MD-PACE program is pleased to announce the first C-PACE closing in Charles County, Maryland, an 86.94 kW solar PV installation for Serenity Farm at 6932 Serenity Farm Road. This transaction also marks another major milestone: Serenity Farm is the first agricultural property to use C-PACE in the state of Maryland.
The capital provider, Greenworks Lending, provided $170,000.00 of C-PACE financing for this project, and partnered with Energy Select, LLC as the solar contractor. MD-PACE is proud to have facilitated the closing of this transaction, which demonstrates the unique value of C-PACE for agricultural properties. Michael Billingsley, Business Development Director (Mid-Atlantic) for Greenworks Lending, had this to say about the project: “Greenworks Lending is excited to finance another ‘first’ in the Maryland C-PACE program. This new solar system will provide a plethora of economic and environmental benefits for Serenity Farm.”
Serenity Farm is located on a sprawling mixed-use agricultural conservation district on the banks of the upper Patuxent River. The property consists of residences, grain bins, equipment sheds, and a cattle barn. The mixed-use nature of the farm requires significant energy to ensure human and animal comfort, produce sufficient internal and external lighting, and perform tasks necessary for the functioning of the farm. With ample rooftop space available, a solar installation was a common-sense response to the cost of purchasing energy from the grid. Upon commissioning a solar study from Energy Select LLC, the owners of Serenity Farm LLC saw that though a large upfront investment, substantial savings could be realized.
The proposed solar array will produce 108,076 kWh in its first year of operation, or 102% of Serenity Farm’s electricity bill, and will yield $14,362 in savings during the first year of operation with total estimated of $513,777 over 25 years. While clearly advantageous, the significant upfront cost represents a barrier to installation under normal circumstances; by using C-PACE financing, the owners of Serenity Farm can immediately enjoy the benefits of the solar installation while repaying the cost of the project over a 20-year loan term.
Farmers across the country are responding to greater economic and climatic turbulence by investing in renewable energy. This is a strategy that has strong support from the US Department of Agriculture through the Renewable Energy for America Program (REAP), alliances like the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, and champions of dual-use farming such as the American Solar Grazing Association. Additionally, there is a growing appreciation for dual-use farming or “agrophotovoltaics“, where solar panels produce energy for the farm and also provide a perfect growing area for shade-loving plants or relief for overheated grazers. This small scale, informed installation seeks to optimize multiple land uses, a synergy between solar and food production that may grow in prominence in the future. Currently, the cost of solar installations can still present a barrier for farmers, but C-PACE offers an alternative avenue for financing. C-PACE financing is non-recourse, long-term financing; additionally, there are no barriers to combining C-PACE with state or federal incentives, increasing project profitability. Serenity Farm is an example of how agricultural properties can harness C-PACE for energy savings.
The MD-PACE program encourages all commercial or non-profit property owners with interest in saving money through C-PACE or investing in high-efficiency improvements to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
About Greenworks Lending
Greenworks Lending is the largest provider of Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) financing in the country. Led by several of the industry’s founding policy developers and standard-setters, Greenworks Lending is a private capital provider uniquely dedicated to funding commercial real estate through C-PACE. Greenworks has provided financing to hundreds of commercial properties and is active in 25 states. Greenworks Lending’s C-PACE financing makes clean energy a smart financial decision for commercial property owners.
About Energy Select LLC
Energy Select LLC is a full-service energy consultant and contractor based in Leonardtown, MD. This Maryland company provides a wide variety of services including energy audits, lighting retrofits, and solar panel installation. Energy Select’s commitment to sustainability is a foundation for the company’s work, and it constantly seeks to improve the efficiency of its operations even as it assists its customers in realizing their energy goals.