Earlier this week (July 11) the Connecticut Green Bank used the state’s Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program and the CT Solar Lease Commercial program, to finance and install the state’s largest solar rooftop, a 995 kilowatt (kW) photovoltaic system for local Bloomfield-based furniture company, Lesro Industries.
The array and the financing is expected to save Lesro as much as $30,000 annually in energy costs, adding up to a total savings of $700,000 over 20 years. “You can be green without spending more money,” said Jerry Leshem, President of Lesro Industries. “In fact, over the long run you can save money.”
The project was developed by C-TEC Solar which received a 2015 PACEsetter Award from the Connecticut Green Bank in the “Best Newcomer” for organizing solar installations and financing through the C-PACE program. “By partnering with the Connecticut Green Bank and companies such as Lesro Industries, C-TEC Solar is able to continue growing our business in Connecticut and proving the benefits of the green energy economy both here and in the region. We are setting an example for others to follow,” said Mickey Toro of C-TEC Solar.
Indeed, Connecticut and its green bank has been a leader in creating financing for solar projects and other states like New York have also created green banks to increase renewable energy financing options. In New York millions in financing is being secured to boost home solar installations through its green bank.
C-TEC and the Connecticut Green Bank used the state’s C-PACE program and a power-purchase agreement (PPA) to create financing for the project. The PACE program lowers the cost of solar by creating bonds to finance solar projects, which are repaid over a long period of time at a low interest rate and guaranteed through an assessment on a location’s property tax. This low-risk, long-term return on investment attracts investors.
Lesro will pay for the power and the system at a discounted rate through the PPA and C-PACE arrangement is a voluntary assessment on the property that provides additional reassurance to investors to make sure the company pays for the system should they default on the PPA. Both help establish more predictable energy costs for Lesro over the lifetime of the agreements.
Manufacturing makes up about 10 percent of energy usage in Connecticut. The array installed at Lesro’s 268,000 square-foot facility (approximately 6 acres) is the largest solar financing project for C-PACE so far, but Connecticut’s Green Bank has issued PACE-backed bonds for other solar and energy efficiency projects before. To encourage further use of green energy in the sector, the Connecticut Green Bank is currently offering, through Sept. 16, a grant of up to $50,000 via its Energy on the Line program for manufacturers to pursue energy efficiency and renewable energy installations.Tweet