Non-IRA incentives and sources of financing for solar

Written by Brian Lavinio, PEA intern and Williams College (2024)

Solarize Philly is your one-stop shop to go solar for your property.

This is the second addition in a two-part blog series focused on solar, storage, and other technologies highlighted in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Part 1 is here. The IRA is a powerful tool with many incentives and sources of financing for solar projects; however, there are non-IRA solar financing measures that can provide additional benefits. Many of these can be combined with IRA benefits to reduce already lowered costs of solar projects.


There are dramatic cost savings available for installing solar!

IRA Investment Tax Credit reduces system costs by at least 30%: “Adders” for domestically-produced content, low income and energy communities can reduce costs even further

PECO incentive of $0.10 per kWh of energy generated in first year of operation, which PEA estimates will reduce total system cost by approximately 5%.

Expect a reduction in the cost of solar by at least 35% and potentially much more!

What incentives are available?

In June of 2023, PECO launched a new solar energy incentive for commercial property owners. The incentive is for production of “behind-the-meter” solar energy and provides $0.10 per kWh of energy generated based on the property’s first year of annual solar production, minus any excess kWh that is not directly consumed by the account and sent to the grid. Simply put, PECO will provide an incentive on the kWh that commercial properties produce and consume.

We estimate that this incentive will reimburse property owners between approximately 5% of a typical total solar system’s cost. This incentive, when combined with the IRA’s expanded Investment Tax Credit (or Elective Pay for non-tax paying entities) of at least 30%, brings the total cost of commercial solar projects down by 35% or more. See this blog post for more information.

What financing measures are available?

If commercial property owners are unable to generate the required capital for solar projects, there are financing measures available to reduce the gap in access to renewable energy projects.

Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE)

C-PACE financing is available for commercial property owners to pay for energy efficiency, water conservation, clean energy, indoor air quality (IAQ), and resiliency projects. PEA administers the Philadelphia program. C-PACE terms can be as high as 30 years and interest rates in the second half of 2023 were between 7% and 8%.

C-PACE financing can be a great solution to pay for the full upfront cost of installing solar. When incentive payments are received (12-18 months after installation) they can go towards C-PACE payments or can be used for other capital investments.

What properties are eligible?

  1. Commercial properties including office, multifamily, retail, warehouse, medical, hospitality, agricultural, industrial, and vacant land, among others.
  2. Non-governmental, tax-exempt organizations that operate facilities such as community centers, medical facilities, theaters, schools, religious facilities, among others.

For more information about Philadelphia C-PACE and to determine if your property and project qualifies, check out the Philly C-PACE website or contact Lisa Shulock at

Catalyst Term Loan, Philadelphia Green Capital Corp.

Financed through Philadelphia Green Capital Corp. (PGCC), an affiliate of PEA and the Philadelphia region’s green bank, this loan offers lightly secure financing for low-to-moderate income multifamily properties and non-profits. The Catalyst Term Loan primarily targets energy and resilience improvements through decarbonizing buildings, improving occupant health and safety, and complying with local building energy-efficiency requirements. Renovations and new construction are both eligible.

What properties are eligible?

  1. Affordable and market-rate residential properties with five or more units.
  2. Co-ops, condominiums, rental properties, and affordable housing (including mixed-use).
  3. Buildings owned by non-profits or municipalities, including community centers and houses of worship. 

What are some eligible improvements?

Most energy performance improvements are eligible, as well as improvements to a building’s health, safety, or resiliency. Some examples include:

  • Solar PV and other renewable energy systems
  • Repairs needed for building electrification or solar, including roof replacement or electrical rewiring
  • Energy storage solutions
  • Work deemed necessary for achieving high-performance building standard certifications such as LEED

What are the loan terms and rates?

Loans can range from $50,000 to $2,000,000, with rates starting at 8.75% and terms ranging from 7-20 years. Higher loan amounts may be considered on a case-by-case basis by PGCC. Rates vary based on housing affordability status and/or owner’s nonprofit status.

For more information, check out the PGCC webpage. Questions can be directed to Rishika Ghosh,

Sustainable Development Fund

The Sustainable Development Fund is part of the Reinvestment Fund of Philadelphia in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. This fund financially supports projects that promote energy conservation and efficiency, and clean energy technologies.

Who is eligible?

  1. For-profit companies
  2. Non-profit organizations
  3. Local government entities

Renovations and new construction are both eligible. All projects must be located in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

What are some eligible improvements?

The Sustainable Development Fund provides financial support for projects promoting energy conservation and efficiency, renewable energy implementation, storage solutions, and construction of electricity-generating projects from clean energy sources. Examples include:

  • Construction of solar, wind, hydro, or other renewable energy sources.
  • Energy conservation and energy efficiency improvements in buildings, including gut rehab and energy retrofits. 
  • Energy-efficient production equipment.
  • Electric storage solutions.

For more information, check out the Sustainable Development Fund webpage, or contact Bridget Wiedeman at the Reinvestment Fund,


  • Obtain quotes from Solarize Philly solar installers
  • Secure Financing or capital for 100% of system cost
  • Approximately 12-18 months after interconnection with PECO, receive payments from IRS and PECO for 30-35% or more of system cost

Financing options can include:

Reach out to Solarize Philly, your one-stop shop to go solar for your property.

Building Energy Efficiency projects can generate significant revenue through Alternative Energy Credits in PA

Editor’s note: The following post by guest blogger Jason Campbell from Blue Delta Energy is an important read! I just learned about Tier II credits which are now similarly valued to Solar Renewable Energy Credits. This is a revenue stream that can be used for retrofits and new construction. Lisa Shulock

Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (AEPS) provides financial support for a range of clean energy projects, such as wind and solar, but also other sources including distributed generation, and a broad range of energy efficiency projects. Under the AEPS, energy efficiency projects qualify as a Tier II resource eligible to create operating incentives in the form of Alternative Energy Credits (AECs).  One AEC is equal to one MWh of electrical generation or energy savings. The Pennsylvania PUC defines energy efficiency projects to include lighting, HVAC, heat pump, efficient appliance, and demand response projects, to name a few. Depending on the specific project type, new construction, retrofits, and early replacement projects are eligible to qualify.

The AECs are valued on the compliance market as driven by demand from Pennsylvania’s load serving entities, who are required to include a specific percentage of electricity from alternative energy resources in the generation provided to Pennsylvania customers.  The value of the current market for Reporting Year 2024 Pennsylvania Tier II AECs is approximately $35 per MWh, yielding significant value for qualifying projects.  As an example, an energy efficiency project with annual electricity savings of 1,800,000 KWh generates 1,800 AECs per year. At $35 per AEC, the project could generate approximately $63,000 in annual revenue during its crediting period.

AECs are created monthly in a clean energy tracking registry. Importantly, the Pennsylvania PUC allows for AECs to be created and monetized in addition to the receipt of utility rebates.

Blue Delta Energy currently manages a diverse portfolio of Tier II AEC projects in Pennsylvania.  As a service provider, the company (1) works with clients, third-party engineers, and the PUC to get projects approved, (2) registers the AECs in the applicable registry, and (3) monetizes the credits in line with client goals. 

Jason Campbell can be contacted at

First Solar Project to Use C-PACE in Pennsylvania Closes in Philadelphia

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Maryrose Myrtetus, Philadelphia Energy Authority 
215-431-5641 (cell)

Philadelphia, PA – The Philadelphia Energy Authority, Greenworks Lending, and the Capers Company LLC  announced today the financial close of the first project in Pennsylvania to use Commercial Property-Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) financing for a renewable energy project as part of a series of announcements being released during Philadelphia Solar Week. Capers Company LLC is borrowing $519,020 in C-PACE financing from Greenworks Lending to install a 212-kilowatt solar system on a building in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia. K.E.S. LLC is the solar developer. The solar array is projected to generate 266,673 kWh in its first year of operation, meeting nearly 100% of the electricity needs of the building’s tenants. By using solar energy, the building will reduce its carbon footprint by 6,900 metric tons of CO2e emissions over the life of the project. 

Under the leadership of Councilmember Derek S. Green (At Large), Philadelphia City Council passed legislation enabling C-PACE financing in Philadelphia in June 2019. “We saw C-PACE as a tool to open up new markets for clean energy investments in our City,” said Green. “This solar project proves that C-PACE does just that.”  

William Capers, Principal of the Capers Company, says, “We feel it is most suitable and fitting that this project benefits a building that caters to the care of children, supporting them now and with the goal of leaving a better earth for them. I am happy to be a part of a project that will help decrease a necessary cost associated with operating a childcare center.”  

Jessica Bailey, Greenworks CEO and Co-Founder, stated that “Solar can immediately help decrease a building’s operating expenses while lowering its carbon footprint and has been a key piece of the Greenworks story since we started. C-PACE finance offers a powerful solution to build these projects where they might not otherwise have made fiscal sense. We are proud to expand our offering into Pennsylvania and provide financing for the first C-PACE-financed solar project in the Commonwealth.”   

“This is the second C-PACE financing to close in Philadelphia this summer, showing the breadth of projects that C-PACE enables,” noted Maryrose Myrtetus, the Philadelphia Energy Authority’s Program Manager overseeing the Philadelphia C-PACE program. “The first financing covered energy and water efficiency improvements in a new mixed-use gut-rehab project in Kensington. It is notable as well that this solar project pencils out without grants, simply utilizing the energy savings, C-PACE financing structure, tax benefits and anticipated Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) revenue.” 

The line-up of virtual events for Philadelphia’s second annual Solar Week includes a webinar on Thursday, August 20th titled Good for Business: Trailblazing Commercial Solar Projects, which will include information on C-PACE and another commercial solar project announcement. Find details about all Solar Week events at  

About the Philadelphia Energy Authority 

The Philadelphia Energy Authority (PEA) is an independent municipal authority created in 2010 to advance energy affordability and sustainability for the City. PEA has facilitated over $136 million in clean energy projects in Philadelphia since launching the Philadelphia Energy Campaign in 2016, creating more than 1,300 jobs.  As Program Administrator, PEA reviews and approves applications, manages the billing and lien processes, engages in market education and supports the growth of the Philadelphia C-PACE program. 

About Philadelphia C-PACE 

Commercial Property-Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) financing allows commercial property owners to borrow money for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation projects. Repayments are made via a special assessment similar to a property tax assessment. Key features include: 100% of project costs can be financed; repayment terms are up to 30 years; the special assessment stays with the property in the event of a sale. 

For more information, visit

About Greenworks Lending 

Greenworks Lending is the largest provider of Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) financing in the country. Led by several of the industry’s founding policy developers and standard-setters, Greenworks Lending is a private capital provider uniquely dedicated to funding commercial real estate through C-PACE. Greenworks has provided financing to hundreds of commercial properties in more than a dozen states. Greenworks Lending’s C-PACE financing makes clean energy a smart financial decision for commercial property owners. 

# # #

First Pennsylvania C-PACE Deal Inked: $1.5 Million of Energy and Water Efficiency Investments in Philadelphia



DATE: JULY 17, 2020

CONTACT: Maryrose Myrtetus, Philadelphia Energy Authority, 215-431-5641 (cell),

Philadelphia, July 17, 2020 –

The Philadelphia Energy Authority, Twain Financial Partners and SHIFT Capital announced today the financial close of the first project in Pennsylvania to use Commercial Property-Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) financing. SHIFT Capital is borrowing $1,500,000 in C-PACE financing from Twain Financial to pay for energy and water efficiency upgrades to a new mixed-use development in the Kensington-Harrowgate neighborhood of Philadelphia.

SHIFT Capital’s project, J-centrel, is key to the company’s unique approach to urban development. J-centrel provides 30,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space, including retail storefronts, spaces for entrepreneurs and artists, and an accelerator for local businesses. It also features 116 converted loft-style apartments. The C-PACE financing is being used to pay for measures that will reduce the operating costs in the commercial spaces, including LED lighting, window replacements with insulation and low-e glazing, energy recovery units, variable refrigerant flow heat pumps, and low-flow plumbing. Together, the measures are expected to reduce the building’s total carbon footprint by 2,700 metric tons of CO2 equivalent.

Under the leadership of Councilmember Derek S. Green (At Large), Philadelphia City Council passed legislation enabling C-PACE financing in Philadelphia in June 2019. “I am so proud to see the state’s first C-PACE deal close in Philadelphia. C-PACE is a game-changing tool that brings private sector investment to our city to create jobs, fight climate change, improve public health and help businesses save money,” said Green. “I’m proud to have led the charge to establish this important initiative in partnership with the Philadelphia Energy Authority and I look forward to more C-PACE projects to come.”

C-PACE was enabled in Pennsylvania in 2018 through legislation sponsored by State Senator John Blake (D-Lackawanna County). “We worked for years in Harrisburg to finally get C-PACE across the finish line because we understood the economic and environmental benefits of this creative, market-driven funding mechanism to enable businesses to make important water conservation and energy efficiency upgrades,” Sen. Blake said. “I hope and expect that this $1.5 million investment is the first of many impactful C-PACE projects across the Commonwealth. I applaud the work of the Philadelphia Energy Authority for initiating the first C-PACE project in Pennsylvania.”

 “SHIFT Capital is excited to use C-PACE for our J-centrel project. C-PACE was a key tool for rounding out our capital stack, reducing ongoing operating costs, and making our building more green,” said Brian Murray, CEO and Founder of Shift Capital, the developer of J-centrel. “C-PACE provided us with competitively-priced financing and a long-term repayment schedule to allow the energy efficiency improvements for the commercial portion of the project to be cash flow positive right away.”

“Twain Financial is thrilled to be the capital provider for the first-ever Pennsylvania C-PACE project,” said Paul Thompson, Business Development Officer at Twain Financial. “Bringing C-PACE to a new state creates an opportunity for additional developers to see the positive impact these projects will have on their communities. As a PACE investor in other markets since 2016, we have seen how C-PACE allows projects to overcome challenges that have hindered adoption of energy efficiency and related projects in commercial buildings.”  

Emily Schapira, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Energy Authority, the Philadelphia C-PACE Program Administrator, said, “With this project, Pennsylvania C-PACE is open for business. Philadelphia is leading the charge in building a robust, equitable clean energy economy, and we are proud to be home to the state’s first C-PACE deal.”

Today, PEA also announced the launch of a new website for the Philadelphia C-PACE program,

About the Philadelphia Energy Authority

The Philadelphia Energy Authority (PEA) is an independent municipal authority created in 2010 to advance energy affordability and sustainability for the City. PEA has facilitated over $136 million in clean energy projects in Philadelphia since launching the Philadelphia Energy Campaign in 2016, creating more than 1,300 jobs.  As Program Administrator, PEA reviews and approves applications, manages the billing and lien processes, engages in market education and supports the growth of the Philadelphia C-PACE program.

About Philadelphia C-PACE

Commercial Property-Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) financing allows commercial property owners to borrow money for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation projects. Repayments are made via a special assessment similar to a property tax assessment. Key features include: 100% of project costs can be financed; repayment terms are up to 30 years; the special assessment stays with the property in the event of a sale.

For more information, visit

About SHIFT Capital

SHIFT Capital is a solutions-based neighborhood investment group who takes an integrated approach to developing equitable inclusive communities that thrive. SHIFT is a Certified B Corporation® who deploys development strategies in underserved neighborhoods that align patient capital with long-term community success to help catalyze shared prosperity, build wealth for the existing community, and strategically preserve affordability and minimize displacement.

About Twain Financial

Twain Financial Partners is an investment management firm located in St. Louis, Missouri with over $4 billion in assets under management within the public-private partnership sector. The firm works with a wide variety of investment types, specializing in tax credit, structured debt and real estate transactions. Twain works closely with financial institutions, corporations and high-net-worth individuals to structure and manage investments that offer both attractive economic return and social benefits.

# # #

Using C-PACE to Free Up Capital and Reduce Costs in the Covid-19 Economy

As individuals and businesses across the country continue to navigate the difficult Covid-19 situation, the Philadelphia Energy Authority continues to operate the Philadelphia Commercial Property-Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program to help commercial building owners reduce their carbon footprints while improving their financial health.

C-PACE provides long-term, fixed-rate and low-cost capital to commercial property owners for energy efficiency, water conservation and clean energy projects, and can be used to retroactively finance or refinance energy efficient construction already completed. 

Many businesses are facing unprecedented challenges right now. Though energy efficiency projects may not be top of mind, C-PACE provides a useful opportunity to leverage inexpensive, long-term capital to create cost savings, provide liquidity, and improve public health – all of which strengthen businesses for the long term. 

Here are three ways C-PACE can benefit your business: 

1. Energy efficiency projects financed with C-PACE can generate annual savings:  C-PACE energy efficiency and water conservation projects must result in cost savings. Often, the annual C-PACE repayment is less than the cost savings per year, creating positive net operating income. Property owners can use C-PACE to cover 100% of hard and soft project costs. During difficult economic times, zero dollars out of pocket combined with recurring cost savings can help commercial property owners boost their financial health. 

2. Retroactive financing can reduce debt service payments or free up cash for businesses: Commercial property owners that completed an eligible project in the past two years may be able to retroactively finance their projects with C-PACE. Retroactive financing allows property owners to replace more expensive debt with C-PACE’s low-rate, long-term financing. If there isn’t a previous financing to replace, retroactive C-PACE financing can provide a cash infusion, bolstering the business’ cash on hand. 

3. Addressing Philadelphia’s carbon footprint creates a more resilient city: Seventy percent of Philadelphia’s carbon footprint comes from buildings and industry. Energy efficiency and clean energy projects reduce Philly’s carbon emissions, which is more important than ever during the Covid-19 pandemic. Studies show that populations with high levels of air pollution are hit harder by Covid-19, so every step we take to reduce emissions will affect the health of all Philadelphians.  Most C-PACE projects reduce emissions, which helps fight climate change and results in cleaner air, healthier people and a more resilient workforce. 

During this uncertain time, C-PACE is a flexible tool that can help commercial property owners weather this storm and strengthen their businesses in the long term.

For more information or to discuss a specific project, email

Philadelphia Energy Authority (PEA) COVID-19 Update

As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, PEA remains focused on keeping our programs up and running while keeping our team, students and partners safe. PEA staff will be working remotely going forward, but all programs will be fully operational during that time. As you know, the coronavirus news changes day by day, so we will continue to keep you posted as things change.

  • Water and Sewer Line Protection Program: PEA partners with American Water Resources to offer a water and sewer line protection program for Philadelphia homeowners. If you require assistance with your existing account or if you would like to enroll, please contact American Water Resources at 844-765-7260. You can also reach Alon Abramson, PEA’s Program Manager at with other questions or concerns.
  • C-PACE: PEA is the Program Administrator for the Philadelphia C-PACE program, a financing tool for commercial buildings to pay for energy efficiency, water conservation and clean energy projects. We will continue to accept and review applications and serve as a resource to all interested in the program. You can reach CPACE Program Manager Maryrose Myrtetus at All in-person C-PACE events are postponed until further notice. Here is an updated list of upcoming online C-PACE events:

– March 19 @ 2pm – Webinar on the Philadelphia C-PACE Application Process. Register here.
– March 25 @ 4pm – C-PACE: Connecting the Dots events hosted by Burns Mechanical – POSTPONED
– April 7 @ 3:30pm – Kick-Off to a C-PACE Webinar Series hosted by White & Williams and Counterpointe SRE. Register here.

  • Philadelphia Solar Rebate: In a bright spot, on March 16th, PEA opened applications for the Philadelphia Solar Rebate. This is an incentive program of $0.20/watt for residential projects and $0.10/watt for commercial projects. All projects that received Permission to Operate (PTO) on or after July 1, 2019 are eligible to apply. Go to gov/solar-rebate to learn more and apply. Contact with questions.
  • Bright Solar Futures – PEA’s Bright Solar Futures program for Opportunity Youth is continuing online, thanks to the support of the Solar States instruction team and HeatSpring – an online platform for clean energy training. The current class of 16 PowerCorpsPHL Fellows is on track to complete the advanced 680-hour solar and energy efficiency curriculum on May 9th as planned. PEA did not hold the Friday training for high school students last week and that program will reconvene when the School District reopens.

Though PEA is not responsible for utility services to Philadelphia residents, we are pleased that the Philadelphia Water Department, Philadelphia Gas Works and PECO have announced that all utility shutoffs are currently suspended. For more information, call:

  • Philadelphia Water Department: (215) 685-6300
  • Philadelphia Gas Works: (215) 235-1000
  • PECO: 1-800-494-4000

For any other questions or assistance, please email and we will respond to you promptly.

City Council President Clarke Highlights PEA’s Work in 2020 Inaugural Address

On Monday, January 6, 2020, Philadelphia City Council, Mayor Jim Kenney and others were sworn in to begin their new terms of service.

The Philadelphia Energy Authority was proud to receive top billing in City Council President Darrell Clarke’s swearing-in remarks. He kicked off his speech by talking about the Philadelphia Energy Campaign, PEA’s marquee initiative to leverage energy as a tool for impact.

The Energy Campaign launched in 2016 with the goal of creating 10,000 high-quality jobs and spurring the investment of $1 billion in Philadelphia’s green economy by 2026.

“Four years ago, I stood on stage at our inauguration and made a number of pledges as we sought new ways to grow our city’s economy while helping more Philadelphians participate in that growth. We have made real progress – but we still have more work to do,” said Council President Clarke. “I said we would unveil a comprehensive energy strategy to help homeowners, businesses and city government increase efficiencies, reduce costs and create 10,000 new jobs over the next 10 years. Well, we are not at 10,000 jobs — yet – but I am pleased to report the work of our Philadelphia Energy Authority has led to the creation of over 1,000 jobs. We’re still on pace to reach our jobs goal and more energy-efficient projects are coming on board. More Philadelphians have installed solar systems in their homes, and over $100 million has been invested by companies and government agencies to retrofit their buildings to become more energy-efficient.”

And that’s just the beginning. The 1,000 jobs and $100 million investment statistics only reflect progress through 2018 as the 2019 full-year data is still being compiled. PEA was hard at work in 2019 and we expect the updated job and investment statistics to reflect continued success tracking toward the Energy Campaign’s ten-year goals.

Some of PEA’s early 2020 work includes:

  • Starting to accept applications for the new solar rebate, an incentive of $0.20 per watt for residential projects and $0.10 per watt for commercial projects
  • Working with commercial property owners to finance clean energy projects using C-PACE
  • Launching two new solar training programs – one at Frankford High School, and another through PowerCorpsPHL

As Council President Clarke said, the City’s “comprehensive energy strategy is saving energy, reducing utility bills and creating jobs.” We’re proud to be leaders in Philadelphia’s growing green economy.

This work would not be possible without the commitment and leadership of Council President Clarke, Mayor Kenney, other members of City Council, and countless other supporters in and outside of City government. We are grateful for their support.