Vote report: C-PACE program expansion legislation enacted (MoCo Council)
Yesterday, Montgomery County enacted Bill 46-21, which aligns Montogomery County's law with Maryland state law (HB 517 from 2021 ) to expand the types of eligible projects that may be financed through the County's Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy(C-PACE) program for both new and existing commercial buildings. It is important to note that this legislation does not affect the County's residential properties.
Bill 46-21 removes the prescriptive list of measures to align with HB 517 and include a wider range of climate-related improvements. These improvements include:
energy and water efficiency;
grid resilience; or
It would also allow for 12-month retroactive financing, which was permitted by HB 517, for eligible C-PACE measures reducing energy efficiency. Retroactive financing has been used in twelve other state programs with one-to-three-year lookback periods. In Maryland, retroactive C-PACE before enacting this legislation by the Montgomery Council Council was only available in the City of Baltimore and Prince George's County. Bill 41-21 also creates a 5-year pilot for increased loan-to-value amounts for qualified properties. The County's fiscal impact report states would likely "increase the supply of financing for owners to use C-PACE financing for larger capital improvements than would be possible under the current loan-to-value amounts."
In addition, this bill will clarify new construction participation requirements. The county fiscal note explains that existing buildings can already use C-PACE to improve current conditions to code and achieve energy savings, so offering "C-PACE for new construction would be the equivalent of what is already offered for existing buildings. Developers of new construction can obtain a lower weighted average cost of capital using C-PACE than alternative commercial sources. As the County implements the 2018 International Green Construction Code, access to C-PACE to meet this sustainability overlay code will be a valuable incentive for developers in Montgomery County." Bill 41-21 also removes the "County Designated Lender" entirely from the County's C-PACE program. It was determined that the role of "County Designated Lender" is no longer needed now that the Montgomery County Green Bank is the C-PACE Program Manager.
The Transportation and Environment Committee, in their Bill 41-21 workgroup, added language addressing the Racial Equity Social Justice Statement (RESJ). The Committee added a requirement for a commercial property owner who applies for financing to certify and describe best efforts that will be used to contract for energy efficiency building improvements with a minority-owned business, small business, or Countyowned local business. They also added a requirement for the Green Bank to include in its annual report details about outreach and education efforts made to encourage and disseminate information about minority business to commercial building owners for energy-related projects.
The final results of the vote can be found below:
Vote (Yea/Nay/ Abstain/Absent)