CPACE program aims to help small firms use renewable energy

Small-business owners in Colorado who have hopes of adding a solar energy installation to their offices may be in luck, thanks to recent legislation passed by the state Senate. The Commercial Property-Assessed Clean Energy (CPACE) program gives commercial property owners the ability to save on their utility bills when paying off energy projects.

The bill was sponsored by Democratic Senator Gail Schwartz, who expressed interest in weakening the financial restraints small-business owners often face when trying to invest in new installations or renewable energy installations. Not only will commercial property owners be able to add to the value of their buildings, but they will also support from the state for their solar, wind and other power project.

"For all businesses, especially small businesses, every dollar counts," said Schwatrz. "This CPACE program will help those businesses save by cutting down their utility bills. CPACE also helps foster jobs, as it grows the renewable energy and clean tech sectors.  It's a win-win, and it's a smart investment as our economy continues to recover."

How can small-business owners get involved?
There are many initiatives similar to this one in other states, but few commercial property owners know how to take advantage of such programs. Below are a few ways small-business owners who own their office space can look into to participate in the CPACE project:

  1. Join a PACE improvement district
  2. Clarify which renewable energy project the company is interested in
  3. The district issues a bond to fund the project
  4. An investor buys the bond and allows the firm to pay of the project in installments

Small businesses need more renewable energy
Not only do solar, wind and geothermal energy projects allow companies to lessen their carbon footprint, but they can also help them save money on utility costs in the long run. With initiatives like CPACE, businesses can show better corporate sustainability, an attractive characteristic for today's consumers.

"This bill is an important and optional financial tool to help promote innovation in the building sector," said Chris Votoupal, the deputy director of the Colorado Cleantech Industry Association. "Installing renewable energy features and energy efficiency upgrades to commercial properties also creates jobs for Colorado businesses - jobs that can't be outsourced."

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