The Missouri Green Banc, a nonprofit green lender and affiliate of the Missouri Clean Energy District (MCED), and Allectrify, a public benefit corporation that specializes in helping banks offer commercial property-assessed clean energy (C-PACE) loans to developers and small-business owners, have facilitated the closing of a $400,000 C-PACE loan to finance the installation of solar PV systems for Porter Farms in Mercer County, Mo. The Missouri Green Banc provided the loan with funding from the U.S. Agriculture Department.
The C-PACE loan to Porter Farms is the first to close under MCED’s new FASTPACE Program, which is designed to make it easier for developers and small-business owners to access C-PACE financing through local banks, credit unions and green lenders like the Missouri Green Banc. Allectrify administers the FASTPACE Program on behalf of MCED.
“For over 100 years, the Porter family has grown corn and soybeans in northern Missouri,” says Lori Porter, owner of Porter Farms. “Our new solar PV system will help us lower our energy costs and stay competitive. The FASTPACE Program was good for my family and our business.”
Commercial PACE is a financing mechanism that enables developers and property owners to obtain long-term financing for eligible improvements with no money down, and then pay for their project through a voluntary property tax assessment. Access to C-PACE financing is particularly critical for small-business owners who cannot afford the high upfront costs and higher annual payments that are often associated with traditional, shorter-term bank loans.
In recent years, many national C-PACE lenders have stopped offering C-PACE loans for energy improvement projects below $2 million. This trend adversely impacts millions of small-business owners across the country that might need lower amounts to complete projects.
The FASTPACE Program addresses this problem by making it easier for more community banks, credit unions and CDFIs to offer C-PACE loans to their clients. These community lenders might also finance energy upgrades to hotels and shopping centers, but FASTPACE makes it profitable for them to serve small businesses too.
Photo by Matt Jerome Connor