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CORE’s Guide to Funding Commercial Energy Upgrades

Funding commercial energy upgrades can be a big commitment and a little funding can go a long way. We put together this simple guide to help you maximize your almighty dollar and make the Path to Zero easy for local businesses. Here are a few simple and effective ways to bolster your energy budget:

Financing

Sometimes you need a loan for the biggest projects, but did you know that building or renovating with energy efficiency in mind can get you more favorable terms?

Check out these carbon-cutting loan options:

C-PACE

Did you know you can finance up to 100% of your commercial energy upgrade with C-PACE? The Colorado Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy Program (C-PACE) matches businesses with private capital providers to provide low-interest loans for energy efficiency, renewable energy and water conservation projects – check here for eligibility requirements.

Assessment and Repayment

C-PACE financing repayment is facilitated through the County property tax assessment process. A voluntary assessment (similar to a sewer district assessment) is placed on the building owner’s property tax bill. The assessment is repaid over the financing term (up to 25 years) and the annual energy cost savings will, in most cases, exceed the annual assessment payment, thereby enabling capital-intensive equipment upgrades. Because the C-PACE assessment obligation runs with the property, the assessment can transfer to the next owner when the property is sold.

Fees

A fee equal to 2.5% of the project finance amount (not to exceed $50,000 per project) is assigned to each C-PACE project. This program administration fee, to cover the costs associated with the various support services required to sustain the C-PACE program, is typically included in the total financed amount and is only due when successful project financing is obtained.

Additional Financing Opportunities

USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements.

Tax Credits

Tax credits can subsidize the cost of energy retrofits, big time. There are state and federal credits available for all sorts of commercial energy upgrades from installing renewable energy systems to installing electric vehicle chargers. A perfect place to start is the DSIRE. It’s a one-stop-shop with all of your options. Just punch in your zip code and you are off and running.

Looking for a good starting point? Check this out – At the beginning of 2021, the 179D commercial buildings energy efficiency tax deduction was made permanent. The tax deduction primarily enables building owners to claim a tax deduction for installing qualifying systems and buildings, while tenants may be eligible if they make construction expenditures.


We want to make a carbon-free future as easy as possible. If you don’t know where to start, call CORE and schedule an energy assessment or advising session. We’ll help you every step of the way from planning your project to reaping the rewards of your completed project. Funding commercial energy upgrades can be tricky but you’ll get it done right with CORE in your corner.

Stacking Incentives

If your home or business is in Pitkin or Eagle counties within the Roaring Fork Valley, you can stack utility rebates and CORE incentives for up to 50% of your energy project funding. Looking for a new heat pump and run a business in Aspen? If the heat pump is your primary source of heat, CORE will provide a rebate of up to $2,500 and City of Aspen Electric will put up another $2,500. That’s $5,000 off your new heat pump right off the bat!

BONUS: CORE has custom commercial rebates up to $25,000 for inspirational and impactful projects. 

Check out these resources for more info on rebates and incentives:

Mike Boucher, facility manager for The Snowmass Club, was able to use CORE’s rebates to upgrade to LED lighting and save the club over $3,500 per year. Read his story here. PC: Daniel Bayer Photography

Grants

For big and innovative projects apply for a grant. CORE’s variety of grant options cover nearly every type of energy upgrade, especially when they inspire others to take action. We invite any business, nonprofit, school, multifamily property, or government to apply. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis all year-’round, so dream big and let CORE help bring that dream to life.

No matter what type of organization you represent, CORE has you covered when it comes to funding commercial energy upgrades.

Ryan Honey, Executive Director at TACAW, was able to use a CORE Grant to support their goal of being the first net zero performing arts center in Colorado. Read TACAW’s story here. PC Daniel Bayer Photography
Read the Fine Print
  • You must be a Basalt resident to receive the added Basalt rebate
  • For the Basalt x CORE rebate, sign up below
  • For the Holy Cross rebate, you must apply on their website
  • Although we are not rebating solar projects in Basalt or Eagle County, you can apply for rebates through Holy Cross Energy
  • Although we rebate batteries, we highly recommend going through Holy Cross Energy’s Power+ Program
*CORE rebates for this program are funded through Eagle County

Written by: Mac Scott

Mac grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah, where energy, water and the environment were frequently the topic of dinner table conversations. His understanding of energy and the environment were put to the test at an early age in the unforgiving arena of elementary school debate club. From the first time writing a speech on renewable energy, Mac has recognized the importance of environmental issues and formed a belief that education is the first step toward having a meaningful impact. Volunteering on local political campaigns led to studying Strategic Communications and Political Science, earning B.S. degrees in both from the University of Utah. After graduation, he spent the next eight years working to promote energy literacy among kindergarten through 12th grade students. Mac is thrilled to bring his passion for energy efficiency and community engagement to his role with CORE. Mac enjoys taking part in all of the incredible outdoor opportunities the Roaring Fork Valley has to offer. Backpacking, hiking, skiing, disc golf and playing soccer are just a few of the ways he might to spend a nice day. On the not so nice days, you will find him listening to new music and working on his latest knitting project.

CORE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to leading the Roaring Fork Valley to a carbon-free, net zero energy future. Under the guidance of a Board of Directors–made up of elected officials, utility representatives, and committed citizens–CORE helps people, businesses, municipalities, facilities and nonprofit organizations save natural resources and lower energy bills while reducing their carbon footprint.