Green Liberty Bond Offers New Opportunity for Individuals to Invest in Connecticut’s Green Energy Economy

Connecticut Green Bank’s lower-dollar denomination bond is designed to encourage individual investors to confront climate change

Rocky Hill, CT (June 30, 2020) – To encourage Connecticut residents to be active in the global clean energy movement to confront climate change and strengthen our state’s green economy, the Connecticut Green Bank will be launching a new sub-category of green bonds – the Green Liberty Bond. Green Liberty Bonds are lower-dollar denomination bonds available to individual investors, the proceeds of which will be independently certified as financing projects with climate and environmental benefits.

It is anticipated that retail investors will be able to place orders for the initial $16 million Green Liberty Bonds on or about July 14, 2020, with institutional investors able to place orders on the following day.

“We wanted to create a financial instrument that allows Americans to invest in the climate economy and the future they want to see,” said Bryan Garcia, President and CEO of the Connecticut Green Bank. “Through Green Liberty Bonds, residents can save for themselves and their families while supporting clean energy projects here in Connecticut that confront climate change. We envision a world empowered by the renewable energy of community, and by providing this investment opportunity in honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we are aligning investors with that vision.”

Modeled after the World War II Series-E bonds, which were purchased by more than 80 million Americans, Green Liberty Bonds are an opportunity for investors to take on the shared challenge of climate change through the purchase of bonds.

To launch the Green Liberty Bonds, the Green Bank is working with Ramirez & Co., Inc. as lead underwriter, Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Inc. as co-underwriter, Shipman & Goodwin LLP as bond counsel, Lamont Financial Services Corporation as financial advisor, and Bank of New York Mellon Trust Company, N.A. as trustee.

The Green Liberty Bonds are expected to be labeled “Certified Climate Bonds” by the Climate Bonds Initiative, and compliance of the bond’s issuance with the Climate Bonds Standards will be verified by Kestrel Verifiers.

“We are excited to be part of the issuance of this new type of green bond with a focus on bringing retail investors to the table,” said Brad Friedman, Senior Vice President, Ramirez & Co., Inc. 

While the Green Liberty Bond will be a new offering for the Connecticut Green Bank, the organization has previously issued three privately placed bonds, and the 2019 bond was recognized by Environmental Finance for innovative green bond of the year and green bond asset backed security of the year.

To help inform residents about the Green Bank’s mission and programs, including the Green Liberty Bond, Green Bank Board of Directors Chairwoman Lonnie Reed and Bryan Garcia will host two informational webinars: one on Thursday, July 2 from 12 – 1 pm, and one on Tuesday, July 7 from 7 – 8 pm. The Preliminary Official Statement, notifications and webinar registration information can be found at www.greenlibertybonds.com.

 

Disclaimer

This press release does not constitute a recommendation or an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security or other financial instrument, including the initial Green Liberty Bonds, or to adopt any investment strategy. Any offer or solicitation with respect to the initial Green Liberty Bonds will be made solely by means of the Preliminary Official Statement and Official Statement, which will describe the actual terms and conditions of the Green Liberty Bonds. The information provided is subject in all respects to the information presented in the complete Preliminary Official Statement prepared in connection with the initial Green Liberty Bonds. Any investment decisions regarding any of the Green Liberty Bonds should only be made after a careful review of the complete Preliminary Official Statement.

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Financial partnership expands energy-efficiency loan pool for Connecticut homeowners

Capital for Change, Amalgamated Bank, Connecticut Green Bank team up to boost successful loan program

WALLINGFORD, Conn. (May 8, 2020) – An innovative collaboration among three financial entities has set the stage for more Connecticut homeowners to gain access to energy-efficiency loans while reducing costs up to 20 percent for many utility ratepayers.

The collaboration is among Capital for Change Inc., Connecticut’s largest full-service, nonprofit community development financial institution; Amalgamated Bank; and the Connecticut Green Bank.

“This new financial model is one of the few – if not the only – such arrangements in the United States helping to boost the growth of unsecured loans supporting consumer energy-efficiency and solar loans,” said Bert Hunter, Chief Investment Officer and Executive Vice President at the Green Bank.

“The model has proven to be a unique means of maximizing the leverage of ratepayer capital in achieving the state’s energy goals,” Hunter said.

“We’re deeply pleased to participate in what we believe is a new financial model for positive community development,” said Calvin B. Vinal, President and CEO of Capital for Change Inc., Connecticut’s largest full-service, nonprofit community development financial institution.

“This will allow us to make more funds available for energy-efficient and solar housing improvements in Connecticut,” Vinal said. “Participating utility ratepayers will see savings on their energy bills of 10 to 20 percent, depending on the energy measures installed and fuel source.”

“We are proud to join the Connecticut Green Bank and Capital for Change Inc. in providing energy efficiency loans to Connecticut residents,” said Keith Mestrich, president and CEO of Amalgamated Bank.

“As America’s socially responsible bank, we believe that our deposits can be used for creating a more sustainable planet and this collaboration affords us an opportunity to expand our impact,” Mestrich said.

The partnership has made available a $27 million line of credit for the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Finance Company (CEEFCo) leveraged by CEEFCo’s ratepayer funding and unsecured loan portfolio, allowing CEEFCo’s portfolio to grow to $36 million. CEEFCo is a nonprofit subsidiary of Capital for Change.

The new model allows CEEFCo to continue to grow its loan portfolio while minimizing the need for additional ratepayer capital, Hunter and Vinal said.

Financing arrangements closed in late December 2019 and took effect in February, Vinal said. At CEEFCo’s inception in 2011, initial funding was provided through legislative mandate by Connecticut energy utility Eversource, using approximately $17 million collected from ratepayers over 10 years. 

With $12.1 million of this capitalization remaining, ratepayer funding has leveraged production of 6,000 loans for $51 million of capital funding at a cost of $5 million. In the past several years, this portfolio of unsecured loans went from $12 million to $24 million, and their earlier financial partner stopped lending.

“We required a different financing model to accommodate the need, which the Green Bank understood and so introduced us to Amalgamated Bank,” said Vinal.

“We’re extremely grateful that Amalgamated appreciates the quality of our portfolio and the impact we’re having on households throughout Connecticut, and that the Green Bank responded with its own support to make it work,” Vinal said.

“In the past several years, our portfolio of unsecured loans went from $12 million to $24 million, and our earlier financial partner stopped lending,” Vinal said. “We required a different financing model to accommodate the need, which the Greenbank understood and so introduced us to Amalgamated Bank.

Amalgamated is providing $22.5 million of funding and the Connecticut Green Bank $4.5 million, with the funding secured only by CEEFCo’s assets.

“This model has proven to be a unique means of maximizing the leverage of ratepayer capital in achieving the state’s energy goals,” Vinal said.

“It’s a great collaboration with financing institutions that support community development and energy sustainability,” Vinal said. “It provides us the liquidity needed to continue to grow that portfolio and provide Connecticut residents more opportunities to save on their energy costs.”

The concept also has broad positive implications for the state’s economy, he said.

“Nationwide, the energy sector is providing jobs in numbers that are similar to those in the automotive industry, led by solar and energy efficiency,” Vinal said. “By promoting energy efficiency, proactive financial models such as this one are helping to improve the environment, create local jobs and save homeowners money.  ”

An extensive resource focusing on energy efficiency in Connecticut – including loan options – is maintained by the utility partnership Energize Connecticut at its website, EnergizeCT.com.

Learn more about Capital for Change at https://www.capitalforchange.org/ and more about Amalgamated Bank can be found at  AmalgamatedBank.com.

C-PACE Program Announces Quarter One 2020 Stats

Connecticut’s C-PACE (Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy) program continues to be successful thanks to pacesetters, the building owners, contractors, municipalities, and other stakeholders who use this innovative financing structure to make energy improvements.

In Quarter 1 of 2020, the program reached 308 total funded projects in Connecticut, and the total amount of project financing has surpassed $164 million. Building owners are continuing to find that C-PACE is an innovative way to make money-saving clean energy projects viable at their properties.

With 134 cities and towns participating in the program, building owners across the state can access C-PACE financing for projects from small to large, with the average project size cost above $500,000. Any upgrade that reduces energy costs or produces renewable energy, like solar photovoltaic systems, can qualify for C-PACE.

To learn more about how C-PACE can help your building, please visit www.cpace.com.  To see more Quarter 1 stats, go to https://www.cpace.com/quarterly

Connecticut Green Bank expands clean energy investment with Green Liberty Bond (podcast)

April 23, 2020The Bond Buyer recently interviewed Connecticut Green Bank President and CEO Bryan Garcia and Managing Director of Operations Eric Shrago about Green Liberty Bonds and the role this new subcategory of bond will play in expanding clean energy investment. These small-denomination retail-investor focused municipal bonds are modeled after the World War II Series E bonds, and the proceeds are independently certified to confront climate change.

Listen to The Bond Buyer podcast here.

To learn more about Green Liberty Bonds and sign-up for notifications, please visit www.greenlibertybonds.com

Smart-E Lenders Eligible to Support the Paycheck Protection Program “Step-Up” for Connecticut’s Clean Energy Industry

CorePlus Credit Union, Ion Bank, Nutmeg State Financial Credit Union, and Union Savings Bank are available to help local clean energy contractors access federal aid

Rocky Hill, CT (April 13, 2020) – The Connecticut Green Bank, working in collaboration with local community banks and credit unions, is helping connect small businesses to lenders supporting the state’s clean energy industry to access federal assistance programs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week, the Office of Governor Ned Lamont, the Connecticut Green Bank, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), Eversource, and Avangrid wrapped up a series of informational webinars for small businesses in the clean energy industry on state and federal aid, including unemployment insurance and the CARES Act’s Paycheck Protection Program

“Connecticut’s clean energy industry, which has taken decades to build, is suffering the negative impacts of this pandemic,” said Vicki Hackett, Deputy Commissioner of DEEP.  “It’s critical that we act swiftly to help our small businesses and workforce in the clean energy industry understand and access state and federal relief so that, as the current crisis subsides, they are ready and able to contribute to Connecticut’s economic recovery.”

On Friday, March 27, Congress passed, and the President signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a $2 trillion emergency stimulus bill to address the economy-wide impacts of COVID-19.  Included in the CARES Act is $349 billion to help small businesses stay open and provide direct incentive for them to keep their workers on the payroll through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

“In order to continue our outreach, and to provide further assistance to Connecticut’s clean energy businesses, we approached our local community banks and credit unions that support the Smart-E Loan program,” stated Bryan Garcia, President and CEO of the Connecticut Green Bank. “A few of the Smart-E Loan program lenders are also lenders supporting the CARES Act, which is great because they can provide direct assistance for those small businesses that may or may not have a direct relationship with a financial institution that is eligible to lend under the Paycheck Protection Program.”

Although the PPP is a large federal emergency assistance program to help small businesses manage through the COVID-19 pandemic, Connecticut businesses are encouraged to act now to secure access to these funds. “Connecticut’s businesses should, if they haven’t done so already, look into the Paycheck Protection Program, as a way to help them manage through this crisis,” says Jorge Perez, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Banking  “Our local community banks and credit unions are here to assist you.”

The following Smart-E Loan program lenders are supporting applications to the Paycheck Protection Program:

Supporting existing and new clients:

Supporting existing clients only:

“We are working hard to help the community during this unprecedented time. Our ability to lend through the SBA and offer assistance with the Paycheck Protection Program have been really valuable to businesses in the community,” said Nutmeg Credit Union CEO John Holt.

Administered by the Green Bank in partnership with nine local lenders (community banks, credit unions and a community development financial institution), the Smart-E Loan offers long-term, low-cost financing for more than 40 qualifying energy improvements. A network of over 500 eligible local contractors completes these upgrades, including insulation, windows, efficient heating and cooling, electric vehicle home charging stations, and solar systems.

 

 

Connecticut Green Bank wins two awards from Environmental Finance for green bond issuance

March 30, 2020 — When Environmental Finance’s 2020 Bond Awards winners were announced earlier this week, the Connecticut Green Bank was recognized with two honors:  the Award for Innovation – Green Bond Structure and the Award for Asset-Backed or Asset-Based Bond. These awards highlight the innovation and success of the Green Bank’s April 2019 $38.6 million in green asset backed securities, which was its first rated debt issuance, and the first ever solar asset-backed security (ABS) transaction by a green bank. The awards were judged by an independent panel comprising of 30 of the world’s largest green, social and sustainability bond investors.

To read more about this award winning issuance, please visit Environmental Finance’s article.

COVID-19 Update

Dear Value Stakeholders:
In this challenging, rapidly-changing time, we wanted to again assure you that the Green Bank is doing its best to support the essential contractors, communities, customers and capital providers that we do business with, and our teams are available to answer questions, provide information, manage transactions, and participate in remote meetings and calls. 

We expect to continue to operate remotely through April 22, 2020, in line with Governor Lamont’s Executive Order 7H, and until further notice.  We would advise all of our Connecticut-based stakeholders to remain updated on COVID-19 through the Office of Governor Lamont as well as the official COVID-19 state website.

We will continue to follow Governor Lamont’s instructions during this pandemic.

Also, in order to assist our heroic public health workers during this period of time, we wanted to see if any contractors have any Personal Protective Equipment (e.g., N95 respirators, face and surgical masks, face shields, gloves, protective clothing, etc.).  There are shortages of PPE, which can protect our public health workers who are providing healthcare during this COVID-19 epidemic.  If you can help, please do so (click here).   

We continue to assess the Connecticut market and beyond to better understand and anticipate potential impact, problems and solutions, as we all manage through the COVID-19 situation. We remain committed to strengthening our communities by supporting your businesses that are critical to making the benefits of the green economy inclusive and accessible to all individuals, families, and organizations.

Our stakeholders, including essential contractors, customers, and capital providers, may receive emails dealing with specific programmatic details shortly from specific Green Bank teams with whom you work directly.

In the meantime, remember that we can work through this together in the days ahead. Feel free to reach out with any questions or contact your Green Bank program teams (see email addresses below).
 
Thank you,

Bryan Garcia
President & CEO, Connecticut Green Bank


Green Bank program email addresses:

Connecticut Green Bank presents PACEsetter Awards

Rocky Hill, CT (March 12, 2020) – The Connecticut Green Bank has announced the winners of the 2019 PACEsetter Awards. The Connecticut Green Bank created the PACEsetter Awards to acknowledge contractors, building owners and other stakeholders who are advancing the green energy movement through C-PACE, and whose leadership establishes a “pace” for others in their field to follow. The award winners are a driving force behind the success of the Green Bank’s Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program. These are the fifth annual PACEsetter Awards. 

C-PACE is an innovative program, administered by the Green Bank, which helps commercial, industrial, and non-profit property owners access affordable, long-term financing for qualifying energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements that are repaid through a voluntary assessment on the building owner’s property tax bill. As the program grows, more Connecticut businesses achieve lower energy costs and increase their bottom-line. The Green Bank announced last month that it had surpassed a total of 300 closed C-PACE projects in 2019, crediting much of this success to PACEsetters and other dedicated supporters of the program.

“The growth of C-PACE is thanks to the efforts of contractors, municipal officials, capital providers, property owners and other stakeholders who have all come together and leveraged this innovative financing tool to build a cleaner, greener and more prosperous future,” said Bryan Garcia, President and CEO of the Green Bank.

The Green Bank acknowledged contractors, building owners and other stakeholders across multiple categories for their work in 2019:

 Top Performer, 2019

  • Green Earth Energy, a commercial solar developer and C-PACE contractor based in East Windsor who closed 10 C-PACE projects in 2019, the most of any contractor in the C-PACE program for this year;

Outstanding Project, 2019

  • Verogy, a commercial solar developer and C-PACE contractor based in Hartford, CT and L.C. Doane Company, a manufacturer of shipboard lighting based in Essex, CT, for their 202 kW solar PV project which received funding from Energy on the Line (a program offered by Connecticut Green Bank in partnership with the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development’s Manufacturing Innovation Fund) and was financed with C-PACE;

  • Con Edison Solutions a commercial solar developer and C-PACE contractor with offices in Danbury, CT & Mutual Security Credit Union, a community based financial institution and one of the top performers in the Green Bank’s residential Smart-E Loans program, for their solar project – a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) secured through C-PACE – at their branch location at 97 Newtown Road in Danbury, CT;

Accelerating PACE, 2019:

  • Spinnaker Real Estate Partners, a real estate company based in South Norwalk and 64 Solar, a commercial solar developer and C-PACE contractor based in Port Chester, NY who lead by example and have shared their story to demonstrate how a partnership between a portfolio building owner and solar PV developer can lead to increased solar PV deployment;

Recently, the Green Bank announced the Charge Up CT Buildings initiative, through which building owners closing on C-PACE financing for qualifying projects can receive up to three free electric vehicle charging stations. For more information, property owners can visit chargeupct.com.

Smart-E Loan Top Performers for 2019 Honored

On Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020, the 18 Smart-E Loan “Top Performers” of 2019 were honored at the Connecticut Green Bank in Rocky Hill. These 18 contractors are headquartered and serve customers across the state, from New Milford to North Stonington and South Windsor to Stratford, and include HVAC, home performance and solar-focused companies. In 2019, the Top Performers helped over 300 Connecticut families make home energy improvements – allowing them to save money, reduce their carbon footprint, and live more comfortably in their homes.

In partnership with nine participating local lenders, the Top Performers’ projects equaled $4.1 million in closed Smart-E Loans. Financed projects include insulation and window upgrades, solar, high efficiency heating and cooling solutions, and more; all helping the state of Connecticut work towards meeting its climate change plan, which focuses on three mitigation wedges: decarbonizing electricity generation, decarbonizing transportation, and decarbonizing buildings.

Out of more than 400 contractors who participate in the program, the Smart-E Loan Top Performers were chosen based on criteria including more than just closed loans (though each had many!). The contractors scheduled in-person Smart-E training for their staff, used Smart-E marketing materials, developed partnerships with Smart-E lenders, and avoided inspection issues. These 18 contractors embraced the Smart-E Loan in 2019, utilizing the flexibility of the product to best serve their customers across the state.

The 2019 Top Performers (in alphabetical order)

Connecticut Green Bank Surpasses 300th C-PACE Project

Rocky Hill, CT (Feb. 25, 2020) – The Connecticut Green Bank announced today that the state’s Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program surpassed 300 closed projects at the end of 2019, reaching a total of more than $163 million in clean energy financing investment in local businesses. C-PACE is an innovative program that helps commercial, industrial and multifamily property owners access affordable, long-term financing to make smart energy upgrades to their buildings that can create immediate savings.

According to PACENation, the non-profit industry group that promotes Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing, only California and Ohio had more total investment deployed through the end of 2019 using C-PACE than Connecticut.

“As Connecticut passes the 300 project milestone, the state continues to lead the C-PACE market it helped to pioneer,” said Colin Bishopp, PACENation’s Executive Director. “Their innovative approach serves as a template for other states continuing the adoption of C-PACE.”

These closed projects will provide an estimated lifetime energy cost savings of $271 million, created 1,797 direct and indirect job years, and reducing energy usage by five million MMBTUs through efficiency upgrades and renewables, which resulted in over 39 megawatts of installed solar PV capacity.

“The growth of C-PACE is thanks to the efforts of contractors, municipal officials, capital providers, property owners and other stakeholders who have all come together and leveraged this innovative financing tool to build a cleaner, greener and more prosperous future,” said Bryan Garcia, President and CEO of the Green Bank. “Working together to lower the energy burden on businesses and nonprofits is a key piece of the Green Bank’s vision.”

A new campaign, Charge Up CT Buildings, was launched in January and can provide free electric vehicle charging stations to building owners completing qualified projects using Green Bank C-PACE financing. Applications are due by May 15, 2020.

For more information on C-PACE, please visit www.cpace.com.