Arlington Helps Put Solar Financing on the Menu in Historic First

Published on July 06, 2021


Arlington County is the first jurisdiction in Virginia to serve up an innovative financing deal using private sector funding so businesses can become more sustainable.

The Arlington Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program is helping Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Company pay for roof upgrades and two solar panel systems totaling 44 kilowatts on two adjacent properties along Washington Boulevard.

Through the program, the County brings together building owners seeking sustainability with private capital providers. Under C-PACE, owners of existing buildings can obtain financing for up to 100 percent of the cost of energy efficiency, renewable energy and water conservation projects for up to 25 years.

John Snedden, the restaurant's owner, said: "The solar (PV) systems will lower our utility bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Plus, 100% financing from Arlington C-PACE helped us avoid using cash on hand. That's the right thing for our business and community."

Arlington Community Federal Credit Union (ACFCU) financed the Rocklands loan.

Arlington was the first county in Virginia to enact a C-PACE ordinance, launching the program in 2018 as part of the County's Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy, known as AIRE.

"Arlington continues to develop innovative solutions to help make our community more sustainable," said County Board Chair Matt de Ferranti. "C-PACE is such a solution: it both advances several goals in our Community Energy Plan and is the first of its kind for our small business community and new commercial developments. We're thrilled to announce this step forward."

Beyond existing structures, commercial property developers can also access C-PACE financing for up to 20 percent of a new building's total eligible construction cost if the prospective building is designed to exceed current energy code (VECC2015) performance by 5 percent or more, or exceed the former energy code (VECC2012) performance by 15 percent or more.

"We are proud to support Rocklands in their sustainability efforts and to finance the first of many C-PACE partnerships in Arlington," ACFCU chief lending officer Jim Wilmot said.

Scott Dicke, who directs the Arlington C-PACE program at Sustainable Real Estate Solutions, said his company was "excited to help Rocklands go solar with C-PACE financing in pursuit of its sustainability goals and this historic first for Arlington and the Commonwealth. Dicke called Rocklands "an example of the traditionally underserved small and medium-sized buildings market, and Arlington C-PACE is well designed to meet the energy efficiency and renewable energy project financing needs of that sector."

Unlike other forms of project financing, the C-PACE program can cover 100% of a project's hard and soft costs.

About Arlington C-PACE

Arlington C-PACE is a county-sponsored program that enables owners of commercial and industrial buildings to use private sector money to finance energy efficiency, renewable energy and water efficiency improvements to their property. The program can be used to finance both existing building retrofits and new construction projects. Spearheaded by the Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy (AIRE), Arlington C-PACE advances several public policy goals as described in Arlington's award-winning Community Energy Plan. Those goals include reducing energy costs, increasing renewable energy deployment, lowering greenhouse gas emissions and creating local jobs. Sustainable Real Estate Solutions (SRS) administers the Arlington C-PACE program.

About SRS

Sustainable Real Estate Solutions (SRS) partners with state and local governments to administer commercial property assessed clean energy (C-PACE) programs. Founded in 2010 by experienced commercial real estate and energy efficiency professionals, the company's proprietary technology-enabled EPIC™ Platform streamlines the management of the data-intensive C-PACE technical and financial underwriting process. SRS's Investor Confidence Project-credentialed quality assurance methodology has facilitated more than $475 million in C-PACE financing nationwide. SRS empowers C-PACE public-private partnerships across the country. The company is based in Trumbull, Conn.