Local Option - Improvement Districts for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Improvements (Colorado)

From Open Energy Information


Last modified on February 12, 2015.

Financial Incentive Program

Place Colorado

Name Local Option - Improvement Districts for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Improvements
Incentive Type PACE Financing
Applicable Sector Commercial, Industrial, Residential, Multi-Family Residential, Low-Income Residential, Agricultural, Institutional
Eligible Technologies Lighting, Lighting Controls/Sensors, Heat pumps, Central Air conditioners, Heat recovery, Energy Mgmt. Systems/Building Controls, Caulking/Weather-stripping, Building Insulation, Windows, Solar Water Heat, Solar Thermal Electric, Photovoltaics, Wind, Biomass, Geothermal Electric, Geothermal Heat Pumps, Daylighting, Small Hydroelectric, Ethanol, Biodiesel, Fuel Cells using Renewable Fuels
Active Incentive Yes
Implementing Sector State/Territory
Energy Category Renewable Energy Incentive Programs, Energy Efficiency Incentive Programs

Terms Locally determined
Program Administrator Programs administered locally

References DSIREDatabase of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency[1]


Note: In 2010, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which has authority over mortgage underwriters Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, directed these enterprises against purchasing mortgages of homes with a PACE lien due to its senior status above a mortgage. Most residential PACE activity subsided following this directive; however, some residential PACE programs are now operating with loan loss reserve funds, appropriate disclosures, or other protections meant to address FHFA's concerns. Commercial PACE programs were not directly affected by FHFA’s actions, as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac do not underwrite commercial mortgages. Visit PACENow for more information about PACE financing and a comprehensive list of all PACE programs across the country.

In May 2013 Colorado enacted legislation to enable commercial PACE programs using funds from private lenders (S.B. 212).

Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing effectively allows property owners to borrow money to pay for energy improvements. The amount borrowed is typically repaid via a special assessment on the property over a period of years. Colorado has authorized local governments to establish such programs, as described below. (Not all local governments in Colorado offer PACE financing; contact your local government to find out if it has established a PACE financing program.)

Colorado authorized local governments to establish a PACE program in May 2008 through amending counties' and cities' existing authority to create improvement districts (H.B. 1350). The law allowed a city or county board to propose an improvement district specifically for clean energy improvements via resolution or ordinance. In 2010, it was expanded to allow multiple counties, even non-contiguous counties, to form a single improvement district (S.B. 100). PACE was further expanded in 2010 (and subsequently amended in 2013) by the creation of an improvement district encompassing the entire state that had authorization to issue up to $800 million in PACE bonds (H.B. 1328 and S.B. 212).

Cities and counties wishing to provide PACE financing programs to their citizens may, by resolution, opt to join the statewide energy improvement district and tap the bond revenue raised by the improvement district. Both energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies are PACE-eligible and among the technologies from which a local government may choose include in its program. Boulder County was the first county in Colorado to implement a program using a PACE financing mechanism (see the Boulder County ClimateSmart Loan Program).

Local governments are also authorized to issue bonds to fund the PACE programs if voter approval is first attained. The board of the county (or city and county) can provide financing assistance to approved applicants who are constructing, expanding, or upgrading an eligible clean energy project by issuing tax-exempt private activity bonds for a minimum amount of $500,000 for a geothermal energy project and $1,000,000 for any other type of eligible clean energy project. The repayment term is a maximum of 15 years for geothermal projects and 10 years for any other type of eligible clean energy project. Geothermal projects are unique in that the repayment term can be correlated to the revenue stream associated with the project being financed by the bonds, subject to a maximum payment in a fiscal year of 75% of estimated project revenues in the fiscal year (see H.B. 1222).

Authorities (Please contact the if there are any file problems.)

Authority 1: C.R.S. 30-20-601.5 et seq.
Date Enacted 05/27/2008 (subsequently amended)

Authority 2: C.R.S. 31-25-500.2 et seq.
Date Enacted 05/27/2008 (subsequently amended)

Authority 3: C.R.S. 32-20-103 et seq.
Date Effective 06/11/2010 (subsequently amended)

Authority 4: H.B. 1222
Date Effective 2014-05-30
Date Enacted 2014-05-30

  • Incentive and policy data are reviewed and approved by the N.C. Solar Center's DSIRE project staff.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1  "Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency" Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "DSIRE" defined multiple times with different content