The Indian Nations Council of Governments (INCOG) and PACE Financial Servicing (PFS) are pleased to announce that on May 20th, the governor of Oklahoma approved Senate Bill (SB) 1592, amending the Oklahoma Energy Independence Act, which allows counties across Oklahoma to establish a commercial property assessed clean energy (C-PACE) financing program.
C-PACE financing allows property owners to finance up to 100% of the costs of certain capital improvements to their properties at competitive rates. This bipartisan bill received support from a variety of stakeholders, including INCOG, the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, and the C-PACE industry. During the shortest legislative session in Oklahoma’s history, the passage of SB 1592 speaks to the importance of C-PACE financing as a privately funded tool for economic development.SB 1592 will take effect on November 1st, 2020.
SB 1592 makes significant improvements to the existing Oklahoma Energy Independence Act, which allows property owners to repay financing for the costs of energy production, energy efficiency, water conservation, and resiliency improvements at competitive rates in a similar manner to local improvement assessments. Such improvements are reliable investments that save property owners money over time through reduced utility costs, lower required maintenance, and improved property value. SB 1592 expanded C-PACE from applying only to commercially zoned properties to all properties in the state, except for single-family residential properties; the program will now benefit non-profits, agriculture, and multifamily housing.
SB 1592 also clarified the role of county governments in establishing and administering a C-PACE program. The amendment provides explicit authorization for counties to establish a C-PACE program and allows counties to outsource administrative duties to a third party. The billing, collection, and enforcement of delinquent payments will be undertaken by private capital providers.
“The result of SB 1592 is that C-PACE can now advance as a county-enabled economic development program that is fully financed and serviced by private capital,” shared Tulsa County Commissioner and Chairman, Ron Peters. “This allows local government to offer C-PACE programs with minimal burden and will allow us to expand C-PACE in our County.” Tulsa County facilitated Oklahoma’s first C-PACE projects in 2019 – the renovation and conversion of the historic Tulsa Club building into a 90-room Hilton Curio hotel and the construction of the 116-room Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Downtown Tulsa.
“With C-PACE financing, greater energy efficiency and resilience is made possible while also providing jobs, increasing property value, growing the economy, and making Oklahoma a cleaner, greener place to live, “ shared Oklahoma Secretary of Energy & Environment, Secretary Kenneth Wagner.
Passing SB 1592 is only the first step in establishing C-PACE in Oklahoma. INCOG, with support from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce and Tulsa County, is sponsoring a statewide C-PACE program that counties will be able to opt into. This program will provide the necessary documents and administrative guidelines Counties need to establish C-PACE locally, including a template resolution to enact C-PACE at the local level and uniform C-PACE transaction documents. C-PACE enabling legislation exists in over 30 states, and the path from legislation to program launch requires a determined and passionate group of C-PACE enthusiasts on the ground; Oklahoma is no exception.
Working with C-PACE program design expert PFS, INCOG is convening interested stakeholders from across the state in an online series of three webinars and workshops. An introductory webinar on C-PACE fundamentals will take place on Wednesday June 24th, followed by a workshop on June 30th, to engage members of the private sector and describe the C-PACE eligibility and approval process. There will also be a webinar on July 22nd for representatives of local government that will provide a breakdown of the local government’s role in establishing a C-PACE program and how C-PACE financing can be an economic development took for local communities.
To register and learn about how you can support INCOG’s effort to develop the C-PACE Program for Oklahoma, visit http://www.incog.org/CPACE.html.
INCOG is a voluntary association of local and tribal governments in the Tulsa metropolitan area in northeast Oklahoma. Established in 1967, INCOG is one of 11 Councils of Governments in the State of Oklahoma, and one of several hundred regional planning organizations across the country. INCOG provides planning and coordination services to assist in creating solutions to local and regional challenges in such areas as comprehensive planning, transportation, community and economic development, environmental quality and energy programs, public safety, and services for older adults.
PACE Financial Servicing (“PFS”) is a private, investor-funded, women-owned and operated company established in 2015 to assist state and local governments with the design, implementation, and the administration of C-PACE programs. Through its unique background working within a quasi-public, quasi-private finance authority and now through its current platform which serves both private capital markets and state and local governments, PFS has built an unparalleled experience designing C-PACE legislation, program design, and program administration governance structures that have a proven track record of success.