Missoula County launches new property tax allowance aimed toward solar panels – Missoula Current

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Missoula Electric Coop and Kettlehouse Brewery joined forces for a big solar set up in Bonner a number of years in the past. Now, a industrial enterprise in Missoula County can enter a brand new state program serving to repay the price of newable energy upgrades. (Missoula Current file photograph)

Business homeowners in Missoula County have a brand new possibility to assist handle the price of putting in renewable energy techniques.

Commissioners final week voted unanimously in favor of creating a program that offers industrial property homeowners the choice to repay the price of renewable energy upgrades via their property taxes.

The Commercial Property-Assessed Capital Enhancements Act, or CPACE, was approved in Montana through the 2021 legislative session. Counties can choose in, and Missoula County is the primary to take action in Montana, in accordance with Diana Maneta, Missoula County sustainability program supervisor.

CPACE is offered to industrial, agricultural, industrial, nonprofit or multifamily properties with 4 or extra houses, for tasks costing not less than $50,000. Property homeowners who choose in repay the set up value utilizing a mortgage tied to their property taxes.

There is not any tax improve to industrial properties that don’t take part.

“It’s not a tax, it’s just a repayment mechanism,” Maneta mentioned.

Types of renewable energy tasks coated embody solar panels, water conservation upgrades, extra environment friendly lighting, heating and cooling, improved insulation and electrical car charging stations.

The line merchandise on the property taxes is tied to the property, not the proprietor. So if an individual decides to promote, they won’t be burdened with paying off the rest earlier than promoting.

Just like different property enhancements—Maneta talked about sidewalk upkeep for example—the following proprietor assumes these monetary obligations.

To be authorized, cash saved on utility payments should be equal to or higher than the full upfront value.

“I am excited for there to be more options for business owners to save energy and to install renewable energy systems,” Maneta mentioned. “I think the more options available, the easier we make it for folks, the more energy conservation projects we’ll see move forward.”

Andrew Valainis, govt director of the Montana Renewable Energy Association, mentioned CPACE helps diminish the upfront value of putting in renewable techniques. With CPACE, property homeowners taken with transitioning to solar panels, for instance, don’t must have the cash in hand for the set up to maneuver ahead.

Commercial property homeowners work with banks who present loans protecting the set up prices for phrases as much as 20 years. Missoula County acts because the collector and pays the financial institution again utilizing the property homeowners’ property tax.

This system opens the opportunity of low rates of interest from banks, since loans are being paid again by the county, not the property proprietor.

The property taxes can’t be separated from the mortgage, Commissioner Josh Slotnick mentioned. They get rolled collectively.

“What I really hope is that we get a whole lot more green energy and energy efficient projects out there on the commercial landscape because this makes them affordable,” Slotnick mentioned. Missoula County Commissioners will vote on a closing decision, formally creating the CPACE program, on Feb. 24.

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