MISSOULA — Missoula County commissioners voted unanimously Thursday to enact the Commercial Property-Assessed Capital Enhancements Act (CPACE).
The program hopes to accelerate Missoula County’s transition to renewable energy by making it cheaper up-front for commercial property owners to make the switch.
CPACE was authorized with bipartisan support during the 2021 state legislative session, and counties need to opt-in locally for the program to take effect. Missoula County Commissioner David Strohmaier said during the vote he was excited to see Missoula take the lead in adopting the program.
“This is a super positive step forward,” Strohmaier said. “It’s been something that has been in the works for many years… It’s great to see Missoula County out on the tip of the spear here getting it implemented in the state of Montana.”
CPACE will not cost taxpayers any extra taxes for owners who do not opt-in, as the financing will come from private lenders, guaranteed from the county.
The types of improvements that apply for the program are broad, including the installation of solar panels, insulation, efficient lighting, and water conservation measures. In order to qualify, the building must be used for agricultural, commercial, industrial, nonprofit, or multifamily properties with four or more homes. Additionally, the project minimum cost must be greater than $50,000.
This is but one step towards the county’s goal of using 100% renewable energy in the urban area by 2030. The goal is a response to the Montana Climate Assessment that said Western Montana will face large-scale changes to the landscape if climate change mitigation efforts are not adopted.
County sustainability program manager Diana Maneta said she hopes this move makes a big difference in the county.
“(There are) Really numerous benefits to the property owner and the county as a whole that we see in terms of those financial savings to businesses,” Maneta said. “Energy savings to businesses which also reduces emissions which helps our whole community work toward our goals of addressing climate change.”
For more information on the CPACE program and instruction on how to apply, visit https://lastbestpace.com/