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.

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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:
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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.

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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)

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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.

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Speaker Aresimowicz Appoints Brenda Watson to Connecticut Green Bank Board of Directors

Executive Director of Operation Fuel brings significant non-profit experience in residential and low-income programs to the Green Bank’s Board

 

Rocky Hill, CT (Feb 24, 2020) – The Connecticut Green Bank is pleased to announce that Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin/Southington) has appointed Brenda Watson to its Board of Directors.

“Brenda Watson is a proven community leader who is working hard to help Connecticut’s low-to-moderate income families deal with rising energy costs,” stated Speaker Aresimowicz. “Her efforts, and that of Operation Fuel, can serve to guide the Green Bank in continuing to mobilize investment in underserved communities.”

Watson is the Executive Director of Operation Fuel, Inc., a Connecticut non-profit driven to reduce the home energy and water utility burden on low- and moderate-income Connecticut residents. Originally only a cold weather program, Operation Fuel now provides utility assistance grants all year. Their long-term strategy is to work with state leaders, the private energy sector, and community organizations to achieve equitable approaches to delivering affordable and renewable home energy and better manage water resources, with a focus on health and environment.

“I am grateful to Speaker Aresimowicz for appointing me to this exciting new position,” stated Watson. “The Green Bank has been making strides in bringing renewable energy and energy efficiency to all residents, and I look forward to helping them continue this mission and increase its impact to reach more families who could benefit from clean energy.”

Watson’s professional career spans 20 years in the areas of transportation planning, municipal government, community organizing, program planning, as well as development and fundraising. Watson serves on the National Energy and Utility Affordability Coalition as Board Secretary, CT League of Conservation Voters, Water Planning Commission-Advisory Group. She is Chair of The Low-Income Energy Advisory Board and recently served on Governor Ned Lamont’s Transition Committee for Energy Policy. Watson has Bachelor’s degree in political science and public administration from Florida Memorial University and a Master’s in public policy from Trinity College.

“Brenda Watson understands the burden that high energy costs can place upon our most vulnerable families,” stated Lonnie Reed, Chairwoman of the Connecticut Green Bank. “While our drive towards inclusive prosperity has helped create parity in the installation of solar across all homeowners in the state, we know there is still much more to do in terms of weatherization and energy efficiency. Brenda has the expertise, commitment and track record to help guide us forward.”

Since its inception in July of 2011, the Connecticut Green Bank has mobilized nearly $1.7 billion of investment into the state’s green energy economy at a leverage ratio of $1 of public capital to $7 of private investment. This investment has reduced the burden of energy costs on over 40,000 families and businesses (including underserved low-to-moderate income families and small businesses), while creating more than 20,000 jobs in communities across the state, generating over $80 million of tax revenues, and reducing 5.8 MMTCO2 that result in over $200 million of public health savings over the life of the green energy projects.  The mission of the Connecticut Green Bank is to confront climate change and provide all of society a healthier and more prosperous future by increasing and accelerating the flow of private capital into markets that energize the green economy.

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Green Bank’s Solar MAP makes it easier for municipalities to go solar

New program is providing a roadmap for Connecticut’s towns and cities to go green

Rocky Hill, CT (Feb. 4, 2020) – The Connecticut Green Bank is making it easier for municipalities to access renewable energy and achieve energy savings at their buildings through the Solar Municipal Assistance Program (MAP). Solar MAP simplifies every step of the process so towns and cities can realize all the cost-saving benefits of going solar with fewer challenges and roadblocks. Partnering with CSW Energy, who was chosen through a competitive process, the Green Bank is currently providing technical support to over 20 municipalities to develop solar photovoltaic (PV) projects on municipal buildings, such as town halls, emergency services buildings, schools, and more. Connecticut Green Bank will provide financing for the solar systems through a power purchase agreement (PPA).

Since 2014, the Green Bank Solar PPA has allowed municipalities to install solar on municipal buildings with no upfront installation costs, no new debt to incur, and no operations and maintenance costs. Through the PPA, the municipality purchases the electricity generated by the solar array, and locks in low electricity cost so the cash flow is positive in year one.

The Solar MAP enhances the Green Bank Solar PPA by offering analysis of a municipality’s portfolio of buildings and identifying the best opportunities for solar. The service includes review of municipal building energy demand, developing system designs, negotiating the terms of a contract with a solar installer, and securing financing through the Green Bank Solar PPA. For municipalities that have considered adding solar in the past but needed more guidance to navigate the process, Solar MAP is the solution. Met with a lot of interest, the Green Bank is wrapping up introductory meetings across the state and looking forward to discovering the solar potential in each community.

“While everyone in the community benefits from the services provided by public buildings, state and municipal properties have a significant environmental footprint,” said Bryan Garcia, President and CEO of Connecticut Green Bank. “When government buildings take advantage of solar energy, they take the first step towards creating a cleaner, greener future for their communities while also reducing the burden of energy costs. The Green Bank Solar PPA unlocks the potential for solar to bring our communities together and make them more resilient.”

The Town of Coventry is one municipality that has been reaping the benefits of the Green Bank Solar PPA for several years. In total, Coventry has installed 582.5 kW of solar PV across six rooftops and two carports using the Green Bank Solar PPA.

“Our community is using solar energy at town buildings including our schools, public safety buildings and our Town Hall – and the Green Bank Solar PPA has made it easy and affordable,” said John Elsesser, Town Manager for Coventry. “The town is saving money, and since we’re not responsible for managing and addressing performance systems through the PPA, we’re enjoying stress free energy production. This is allowing the town to play an integral role in building a cleaner community and in setting an example for our homeowners and businesses who are interested in going solar.”

“Solar MAP is geared towards towns and cities that lack the resources for solar procurement internally and would require technical assistance to put solar on municipal sites,” said Mackey Dykes, Vice President Commercial, Industrial & Institutional Programs. “We heard from municipal leaders who want the benefits of solar energy for their properties, but faced many challenges when getting started. This program was created to simplify the process and provide a comprehensive look at the towns solar potential.”

The Solar MAP can also help municipalities earn points through Sustainable CT, a program designed to make an impact on sustainability in communities across the state. Sustainable CT is helping the Green Bank to educate towns and cities about Solar MAP. “We are thrilled the Green Bank has added yet another tool to help towns and cities take action on sustainability” said Lynn Stoddard, Executive Director for the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University, which runs the Sustainable CT Program.

For more information on the program or to have someone contact you about participation, please visit ctgreenbank.com/solarmap/.

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Free EV Charging Stations for Commercial Properties Financing Efficiency Projects through C-PACE

Charge Up CT Buildings campaign pairs growing EV demand with need for property efficiency

Rocky Hill, Conn. (Jan. 14, 2020) – The Connecticut Green Bank is pleased to launch Charge Up CT Buildings, a new initiative that offers free electric vehicle charging stations to commercial property owners who use Connecticut Green Bank C-PACE financing to improve the energy efficiency of their building. Property owners who apply for C-PACE financing by May 15, 2020 may be eligible for this limited time promotion. Property owners are encouraged to contact the Green Bank early to start the application process.

C-PACE (Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy) is an innovative financing tool that allows building owners to access 100% financing for energy improvements, realize positive cash flow immediately, and create more comfortable, efficient buildings. Hundreds of property owners across Connecticut have already taken advantage of C-PACE to finance energy-saving upgrades and Charge Up CT Buildings offers another incentive to attract new property owners to learn about the benefits of C-PACE.

A broad range of properties can benefit from this initiative, including retail spaces, nonprofit organizations, houses of worship, recreational facilities, restaurants, manufacturers, hotels, and other non-residential properties. C-PACE addresses the needs of businesses of all sizes – from owner-occupied buildings to portfolio real estate owners like Spinnaker Real Estate Partners, who the Green Bank recently profiled.

Through Charge Up CT Buildings, building owners will not only make their buildings more modern and attractive, but their customers, tenants, and employees will be able to charge up and enjoy the benefits of electric vehicles. An EV charging station can help owners and businesses to distinguish their property from others, showing leadership and commitment to sustainability.

The number of electric vehicles on the road in Connecticut continues to grow year-over-year. With over 13,000 electric vehicles registered to date, and a projected 125,000 to 150,000 vehicles by 2025, there is growing demand for more electric vehicle charging infrastructure. This creates an opportunity for property owners to offer their customers or employees EV recharging as an additional amenity.

“Connecticut Green Bank is committed to promoting the growth of electric vehicles in Connecticut, and that includes supporting the development of a more resilient EV charging infrastructure that is suited to handle increasing demand” said Bryan Garcia, President and CEO of Connecticut Green Bank. “We see this initiative as having many benefits to building owners, tenants, employees and customers – as well as to our communities. Property owners who choose to host electric vehicle charging stations are not only doing something positive to promote and grow their businesses, they’re also doing something positive for Connecticut and playing an important role in building a cleaner, greener and more prosperous future where our state has a robust electric vehicle charging infrastructure and where we are all less reliant on fossil fuels.”

To qualify for a free EV charging station, energy saving projects must utilize at $150,000 in Green Bank C-PACE financing with at least 20% of the total project costs going toward non-renewable measures. Larger projects may be eligible to receive up to three electric vehicle charging stations. Connecticut Green Bank’s C-PACE team will work with building owners to determine if their project is eligible for the C-PACE program and Charge Up CT Buildings incentive.

“This initiative simultaneously addresses two of the state’s largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions: transportation and commercial/industrial properties,” said Mackey Dykes, Vice President, Financing Programs at Connecticut Green Bank. “Through Charge Up CT Buildings, the Green Bank is re-investing in the buildings of property owners who use C-PACE financing. The cost of the EV charging stations offered through this initiative will be offset by future interest income generated by the C-PACE financing – and by repurposing this future income into an electric vehicle charging station, these properties will create an even bigger impact on reducing emissions. Not only is the Green Bank enabling building owners to take control of their energy costs and save money, we’re also helping them to position their business and our community for future success.”

Building owners are invited to an open house about Charge Up CT Buildings on Wednesday, March 25 at J Roos, 243 State Street, North Haven. Pre-registration is required at the following link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/charge-up-ct-building-owner-open-house-tickets-86918556743?aff=PR

For more information about the initiative, please visit chargeupct.com or call 866-324-0099.

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Green Development at Repurposed Properties using C-PACE Financing

Spinnaker Real Estate Partners Goes Solar with C-PACE

How does an outdated engineering plant become a state-of-the-art, energy-efficient sports facility? And how is an industrial complex repurposed into a home for makers, artisans, and manufacturers?

Through innovative C-PACE financing,  Norwalk-based Spinnaker Real Estate Partners has harnessed the power of solar to reduce operating costs, exceed industry standards in sustainability, and give new life – and purpose – to older buildings.

Spinnaker is a privately owned real estate company engaged in the acquisition, development, ownership, and management of commercial properties and multi-unit housing communities for almost 70 years. With a focus on urban redevelopment opportunities, Spinnaker has a passion for projects that connect people, housing, business, jobs, and recreation. In fact, since taking over the business over three decades ago, chairman and CEO Clay Fowler has focused on a commitment to resilient and sustainable
building practices.

However, updating the energy profile of older buildings to lower energy use and improve operations is a challenge that can tie up capital and reduce the  return on investment that Spinnaker and its investment partners expect. That’s why 64 Solar, specialists in designing energy-saving solar systems for commercial real estate, suggested that C-PACE financing from the Connecticut Green Bank would be the perfect fit for Spinnaker.

Watch the case study video or download the PDF through the icon below to learn more.

Download
Spinnaker Case Study
 

 

Available for any type of commercial property, C-PACE gives building owners a way to work with contractors to design custom projects that save both money and energy through upgrades ranging from heating, cooling, and insulation to lighting and solar. Unlike self-funding or a more traditional loan product, building owners can leverage C-PACE’s long financing terms and low rates to spread payments out over time and immediately realize positive cash flow. Because energy savings are designed to offset repayment terms, using C-PACE means more money is freed up for whatever opportunities come a building owner’s way.

The details about Spinnaker’s solar project at Glenbrook Road in Stamford are shown in graphic below.

To learn more about C-PACE, click here.

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Connecticut Green Bank offers financing for remediation of health and safety issues that prevent energy upgrades

Single and multifamily properties can benefit from low interest rate loans to remove mold, asbestos and other issues

 

Rocky Hill, CT (Nov. 21, 2019) – In Connecticut, 58% of the housing stock was built prior to 1969, according to the Partnership for Strong Communities, and this older housing stock can often present problems to home owners and residents. Along with structural and code violations from possible deferred maintenance over time, there is potential for the presence of health and safety issues, like mold and asbestos. The existence of these hazards can also make energy assessments, and related efficiency improvements, impossible. To help implement home energy upgrades and remediate health and safety problems, the Connecticut Green Bank and its partners are offering special low interest rate financing solutions for single- and multi-family homeowners.

For owner-occupied 1-4 family properties, the Smart-E Loan program now allows asbestos and mold remediation to be financed in full (up to $25,000) when completed with an Energize CT Home Energy Solutions (HES) program assessment or other energy-related improvements.

“Mold or asbestos in a home prevents blower door guided air sealing, which is an important part of the HES program,” said Lorenzo Wyatt, owner of Home Comfort Practice. “If we can’t complete this part of the assessment, home owners can’t access the full benefits of efficiency improvements, not to mention the obvious negative health implications.”

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.

“We heard concerns from contractors who are often unable to complete home energy assessments and make recommendations for more comprehensive energy efficiency improvements because of mold or asbestos, especially in low-to-moderate income households,” said Bryan Garcia, President and CEO of the Green Bank. “We understand that to provide all of society with a healthier, more prosperous future through the green economy, our financing programs must address these critical issues.”

Smart-E Loan terms range from 5-20 years, with associated not-to-exceed rates fixed between 4.49% – 6.99%. Loan amounts range from $500 – $40,000, though several of the participating community banks do not lend over $25,000. Through June 30, 2019, participating Smart-E Lenders closed 4,266 loans for $65.4 million in financed projects.

For multifamily property owners, particularly those serving low- and moderate-income residents, the Green Bank offers the Energize CT Health and Safety Revolving Loan Fund. This loan was designed to address a wide range of health and safety issues, including mold, asbestos, lead, knob-and-tube wiring, radon, and leaky roofs, that block the way to full energy improvements.

Created thanks to $1.5 million of Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) dollars from the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP), the Green Bank has already financed projects with these funds. One example is Success Village, a 924-unit housing co-operative in Bridgeport and Stratford. The $165,000 loan will cover a phase one pilot that includes asbestos removal from piping on the central heating system which was installed in the 1960s. Completion of the pilot will inform design, engineering and implementation of health and safety and energy upgrades for the full property.

“We are seeing significant energy, maintenance and other cost savings on properties that replace old, inefficient HVAC equipment, weatherize building envelopes or add solar,” said Kim Stevenson, Director of Strategic Initiatives at Inclusive Prosperity Capital, the non-profit that manages the Multifamily Program on behalf of the Green Bank. “These savings also improve the living environment for residents and improve property values.  We strongly encourage owners to evaluate their buildings for missed savings opportunities.” 

The Energize CT Health and Safety Loan fund offers financing of $10,000 to $300,000 (waivers for larger loans are possible) with terms up to 20 years at 2.99%.

To learn more about these loans, visit https://ctgreenbank.com/smartehealthsafety/ and https://ctgreenbank.com/programs/multifamily/energizect-health-safety-loan/.

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