There is no question that Connecticut’s C-PACE program is the most successful in the country. Launched just thirteen months ago, the program has completed sixteen financings, and has another 120 projects in the pipeline. The program is accepted by more than a third of the towns in the state, and has its own revolving loan fund to assure interim financing. Virtually all the energy services contractors operating in the state of Connecticut have taken the Commercial PACE training, and are fully conversant with the requirements of the program.
We can replicate many of these successes in New Jersey if we enlist the help of the industry. Would it be easier if New Jersey PACE had the resources of the state of NJ behind it to kickstart the process? Certainly. But can we do it independently, through a collaboration between the private and the nonprofit sector? We believe so.
New Jersey has about 2.5 times the population of Connecticut, squeezed into 1.5 times the area. But if New Jersey were to only generate twice the number of projects, at same $500K average cost that Connecticut is recording, that would still represent nearly $300 million a year of new projects.
New Jersey PACE faces the same challenge as many of the projects it seeks to finance: making the upfront investment of capital. Unfortunately we don’t have a physical asset to which we can attach a special assessment; and although our programs enable clean energy upgrades, they do not in themselves qualify as “energy conservation measures.” That’s why we’re structured as a nonprofit, so that we can attract a wide range of support to get the program started and make it self-sustaining.
We’re looking at grants, corporate sponsorships, government contracting opportunities, and private donations; we’re also looking at some form of “crowd-funding” to get the program established. If you want to see New Jersey PACE move forward, and believe you can contribute, please contact us. We’re looking for volunteers, advocates, “connectors” and others as well as short-term funding.
For more information on the one-year anniversary of C-PACE, see this story in the New Haven Register.