What property types are eligible for PACE Financing?
The PACE Wisconsin program is currently available to commercial properties (office, retail, warehouse, hospitality, agricultural and industrial) located within a participating community. This includes for-profit businesses and non-governmental, tax-exempt properties such as privately-operated community centers and hospitals. The property may also be a multi-family building with five or more dwelling units.
What are eligible PACE Projects?
PACE Wisconsin supports the redevelopment of existing eligible properties with energy or water efficiency, renewable energy, electric vehicle infrastructure, energy reliability, stormwater controls or "green infrastructure," and other resiliency upgrades in their buildings. New construction PACE Projects are also eligible, but require additional verification and documentation as set forth in the Program Manual.
Eligible PACE Projects must meet the following criteria:
- PACE Project improvements must reduce energy or water usage, generate renewable power, support electric vehicle infrastructure, control stormwater, or improve resiliency for the property.
- Improvements associated with the PACE Project must have a useful life of at least five years.
- Improvements must be permanently affixed to the real property.
- The PACE Financing amount plus the outstanding principal amount of all mortgage liens secured by the property shall not exceed 95% of the property value, unless otherwise approved by PACE Wisconsin. PACE Lenders may have additional limits based on their underwriting criteria.
- PACE Projects with PACE Financing amounts both above and below $250,000 are subject to specific requirements; see below.
When is Mortgage Lender Consent required?
All Applicants must provide the written consent of the existing mortgage lender or other real property lienholder of record on the Eligible Property prior to Final Application.
What are examples of eligible PACE Project improvements?
Eligible improvements include but are not limited to:
- High efficiency lighting
- HVAC upgrades
- High efficiency boilers and furnaces
- High efficiency hot water heating systems
- Water conservation measures
- Building envelope improvements
- Electric vehicle charging stations
- Solar photovoltaic
- Solar thermal
- Wind power
- Geothermal energy
- Fuel cells
- Methane gas from landfills
- Battery storage
- Green roofs
- Rain gardens
- Cisterns (permanent)
- Rain barrels (permanent)
- Bioswales (dry ponds, other detention)
- Permeable surfacing
- Landscaping with deeply rooted plants
- Soil ammendments
- Other resiliency upgrades
Ineligible projects include but are not limited to:
- Compact fluorescent and LED, screw-in lamps
- Plug load devices
- Measures that are not permanently installed and can be easily removed
- Measures that save energy solely due to operational or behavioral changes
- Power factor correction, power conditioning
- Any measure that does not result in energy, water savings or renewable energy production (except Brownfield Revitalization Projects and Water Service Line Replacement Projects)
- Any measure that cannot be explained in terms of industry-standard engineering or scientific principles
- Refrigerant charge (AC/Split Systems/Heat Pumps)
- Rain barrel or cistern designed for temporary storage of precipitation
Can PACE Projects qualify for Focus on Energy rebates, tax incentives and other funding programs?
Yes, PACE Projects can qualify and receive additional rebates and incentives from Focus on Energy and other sources. PACE borrowers are encouraged to obtain all applicable government, utility provider or manufacturer rebates, and other upfront cost reductions to reduce the total PACE project cost for purposes of calculating the amount of the PACE Financing. Find more financial resources with ECO's Sustainable Commercial Building Guide.
Requirements for PACE Financings less than $250,000
The Applicant must submit an Energy Assessment or Renewable Energy Feasibility Study for the PACE Project that evaluates the proposed improvements the owner is seeking to finance and is consistent with the requirement set forth in the Program Manual. While not explicitly required by the PACE Statute, PACE Financings less than $250,000 are recommended to achieve a Savings-to-Investment ratio greater than 1.0. PACE Lender underwriting requirements may require PACE projects achieve a SIR that is greater than 1.0.
Requirements for PACE Financings greater than $250,000
- The Applicant must submit an Energy Assessment that describes the energy, water and operational benefits that will accrue from the proposed improvements being financed with the proceeds of the PACE Financing. The Energy Assessment must be consistent with the requirement set forth in the Program Manual.
- Combined, these benefits must achieve a Savings-To-Investment Ratio of one or greater.
- Finally, these projected energy, water, and operational benefits shall be guaranteed by the project engineer or the contractor pursuant to a Savings Guarantee that is consistent with the requirements set forth in the Program Manual.
- To verify that the PACE project is installed and performs according to the projections modeled in the Energy Assessment and/or Renewable Energy Feasibility Study the written Savings Guarantee must include an Engineering Commissioning and Verification process. Additional details can be found in the Program Manual.
How does an energy-savings guarantee work?
Required for projects over $250,000, a written guarantee from the contractor, project engineer, or a third part must cover a minimum of three years. It must provide that the party shall pay the property owner any shortfall between the guaranteed cash flow and the actual cash flow savings derived from the PACE project. Additional details can be found in the Program Manual.
How is property value determined?
Property value will be determined by either the assessed value from the appropriate assessor’s office or alternatively eligible property owners may supply an appraisal completed within 12 months of the PACE Financing closing date and prepared by an independent real estate appraisal firm. Eligible property owners of property-tax exempt properties must provide an appraisal, as described above.
What is the maximum loan term for a PACE Financing?
The PACE Financing term should not exceed the expected life of the proposed improvements as described in the Energy Assessment. For projects that include multiple Energy Conservation Measures, the term of a PACE Financing may not be greater than the Energy Conservation Measure with the longest expected useful life, as described in the Program Manual.
What project costs can be included in PACE Financing?
The PACE project budget may include all costs required to complete the PACE Project
- Installation/construction contract amount
- Engineer’s energy analysis
- Other required design and engineering
- Project development fees
- Engineer or contractor’s guarantee fees
- PACE Wisconsin Program Fees
- Permit fees
- Legal fees
- Financing fees
- Capitalized interest
What are the Eligible Property Owner requirements?
To be eligible to participate in the program, a property owner must, at a minimum:
- Be the person or persons possessing the most recent fee title or land contract vendee’s interest of an eligible property as shown by the records of the Register of Deeds.
- Obtain the written affirmative acknowledgment of existing mortgage lenders of participation in PACE Milwaukee Program.
- Certify they (and its corporate parent if the property owner is a single-purpose entity) are solvent and that no proceedings are pending or threatened in which the property owner (or the corporate parent, as applicable) may be adjudicated as bankrupt.
- Be current in the payment of all obligations secured by the subject property, including property taxes, special assessments, special taxes or any other tax liens.
- Have no involuntary liens, defaults or judgments applicable to the subject property.
- Properties that are currently appealing a property tax assessment will be reviewed, and eligibility for the PACE Milwaukee Program will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
- See complete Eligible Property Owner requirements in the Program Manual
What fees does PACE Wisconsin charge PACE Projects?
- The Program Fee is one-time administrative processing fee that equals one-and-a-quarter percent (1.25%) of the first $1.75 million of the PACE Financing amount plus one percent (1.0%) of any amount remaining above $1.75 million, and is due at or prior to the PACE Financing closing date.
- The Program Fee shall be no less than a minimum of $2,000, nor greater than a maximum of $85,000.
- The Annual Fee is collected annually with the PACE Special Charge installment payment over the term of the PACE Financing.
- The Annual Fee equals one tenth of a percent (0.1% / 10 basis points) of the PACE Financing amount and shall be no less than a minimum of $250 per year (or installment payment), nor greater than a maximum of $1,250 per year.
Can PACE Financing be used for new construction projects?
Yes. New construction projects, unlike existing-building retrofits, do not have a history of pre-improvement energy consumption data from which baseline energy consumption can be formulated. Without the benefit of this baseline building performance data, additional Energy Assessment requirements are necessary as set forth in the Program Manual.
Can I use PACE Financing for projects that have already been completed?
Completed installations of eligible Clean Energy Measures are eligible for retroactive PACE Financing. All such retroactive PACE Financings must occur within thirty months of the time elapsed between the completion of the installation and close of the PACE Financing. Retroactive PACE Financings are subject to additional eligibility requirements as defined in the Program Manual.