Summit County implements energy efficiency improvement financing program for businesses

A solar panel array at at Silverthorne’s North Pond Park. Summit County government is implementing a program called C-PACE which offers competitive financing for 100% of energy efficiency improvements to commercial buildings in the county.
Eli Pace / |

FRISCO — Businesses looking to make costly energy efficiency improvements to their buildings now have a cost-effective solution available in Summit County. Summit County government will be implementing an energy improvement financing program called the Commercial Property-Assessed Clean Energy program. 

The program works with private lenders to provide 100% of the financing at competitive rates for energy efficiency improvements to commercial buildings, with the costs repaid over time through a property tax assessment. The costs attach to the property similar to a property tax bill, with the same repercussions for non-payment as an unpaid tax bill. Financing is available for up to 25 years, and can be transferred between building owners.

The financing pays for energy efficiency, renewable energy and water conservation improvement installation and upgrades. These improvements can be prohibitively expensive, even down payments on private financing can require a great deal of money upfront.

Summit County Treasurer Ryne Scholl, whose office is administering the program in Summit County, said the program advances the county government’s goal of using public-private partnerships to improve energy efficiency and hit the county’s zero waste and greenhouse gas emission goals.

“Our participation in this program will enhance public policy goals to increase local jobs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase the renewable energy mix in Summit County,” Scholl said.

The program is sponsored by the Colorado Energy Office. It is not publicly funded, but rather works through a similar mechanism which allows local governments to create land-secured financing districts, or improvement districts.

Since this mechanism has been made available to state and local governments to implement, $493 million in financing has been issued to 1,097 commercial projects in 30 states. The energy efficiency improvements are meant to save more money than repayment, making it a mutually beneficial arrangement for all parties.

“We’re able to facilitate and implement this program at no risk to Summit County Government, it’s a win-win for all parties involved. We have over $21 million of Summit County projects already in the pipeline,” Scholl said.

“We are excited that Summit County is now participating in the C-PACE program,” said Jess Hoover, climate action director at the High Country Conservation Center. “Energy use in commercial buildings accounts for one-third of the county’s greenhouse gas emissions. C-PACE financing will make it easier and more affordable for building owners and developers to invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency — two key strategies for reducing carbon pollution in our community.”

The program will go live in Summit County beginning in 2020, with initial participants receiving a property tax assessment on their tax bill when it is mailed in January, 2020. For more information on the C-PACE program, visit For all other inquiries, call the Summit County Treasurer’s Office at (970) 453-3440 or send an email to

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