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Locally owned businesses are sprouting up left and right. A thriving Main Street business culture benefits all of us — in jobs created, dollars earned for local people, and dollars spent here in our community.

One tool that does just that is Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy, or C-PACE. Right now, C-PACE legislation (SB245) is starting on its way through our state Legislature.

Ever noticed how much of a hit you’re taking on your business utilities? We’re probably all spending more than we should be, especially when our buildings are old or have inefficiencies.

C-PACE tackles exactly that. It’s an innovative energy efficiency financing tool that helps commercial property owners fund upgrades like new HVAC systems, LED lighting retrofits, better insulation and more.

Best of all, C-PACE relies on zero public dollars. Instead, it allows small-business owners to access capital from banks and investors that covers up to 100 percent of the upfront cost of their upgrades. The cost of these upgrades is repaid as a small assessment on the property’s annual tax bill over a term of 20 years. The annual energy savings for C-PACE projects are designed to exceed the additional assessment to the property.

C-PACE is already up and running in 36 other states, where it’s driving economic development and creating good-paying local jobs.

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Farms and ranches can also benefit from C-PACE as they are considered commercial property.

Join me in urging our local legislators to support C-PACE. To send a message to a legislator, go to leg.mt.gov/legislator-lookup.

Bruce Peterson

Glendive

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