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The U.S. Department of Energy and the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center are excited to announce that a new, modernized DSIRE is under construction. The new version of DSIRE will offer significant improvements over the current version, including expanded data accessibility and an array of new tools for site users. The new DSIRE site will be available in December 2014. Staff are currently working hard on the new version of DSIRE but are also maintaining the content of the current version of DSIRE. Thank you for your continued support and patience during this transition. We hope you are as excited for December as we are!

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District of Columbia

District of Columbia

Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency

Printable Version
Property Assessed Clean Energy Financing   

Last DSIRE Review: 10/20/2014
Program Overview:
State: District of Columbia
Incentive Type: PACE Financing
Eligible Efficiency Technologies: Equipment Insulation, Lighting, Chillers , Furnaces , Boilers, Heat pumps, Central Air conditioners, Heat recovery, Energy Mgmt. Systems/Building Controls, Caulking/Weather-stripping, Building Insulation, Windows, Doors, Custom/Others pending approval
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Yes; specific technologies not identified, Daylighting
Applicable Sectors: Commercial, Industrial, Nonprofit, Local Government, State Government, Multi-Family Residential
Terms:Loan minimum: $250,000
Loan maximum: $10,000,000
Term length: 20 years
Web Site:
Authority 1:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
DC Code § 8-1778.01 et seq.
Authority 2:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
DC Code § 47-895.31 et seq.

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.

The District of Columbia offers a commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program. In order to receive financing through the commercial PACE program, applicants must first have an energy efficiency audit performed on the property. The audit must show energy cost savings that can reasonably be expected to equal or exceed the cost of the improvements and interest on the loan. Reasonable costs of any energy audit may be included in the amount of the loan upon request by the applicant. In receiving a loan, the participant agrees to pay a special assessment on the property, collected in the same manner as real property taxes, for the purpose of repaying the loan. The special assessment constitutes a lien on the property senior to all other liens except real property taxes, with similar penalties for non-payment. During the application process the applicant must certify that such an assessment does not violate any existing lender agreements.

A special assessment being collected as a result of an energy efficiency loan may remain attached to the property upon its sale. The seller of the property is required to inform the buyer of the existence of the assessment; however, failure of disclosure does not relieve the buyer of the obligation to pay the assessment. For rental dwellings, participant property owners which pass on the cost of the assessment (i.e., the cost of energy efficiency improvements) to tenants are also required to pass on the value of the energy savings.

Properties applying for PACE financing :

  • must be located within the District of Columbia
  • must not be in default, or have a history of default, on mortgage or property payments
  • cannot have a combined debt limit of 90% of current value (including PACE financing)
  • must have primary mortgage holders give written consent to take a secondary position to PACE loan in cases of default.

The program will provide financing for projects costing between $250,000 and $10,000,000; larger and smaller projects will be considered on a case-by-case basis.The term of the repayment is up to 20 years. The Mayor is permitted to authorize the issuance of up to $250 million in bonds to fund the program. The National Capital Energy Fund has been created to serve as the destination of bond proceeds, as well as other federal funding such as Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grants (EECGBs), which may become available to support the program.


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. In April 2010 the District of Columbia City Council enacted legislation providing for the creation of a PACE energy efficiency financing program within the District for residential, commercial, industrial, and other real property. The authorizing legislation describes a wide variety of energy efficiency improvement projects eligible under the program, such as insulation, building envelope improvements, HVAC system upgrades, and lighting. The law also permits PACE loans to be used to finance renewable energy projects (details not specified), as well as any other “modification, installation, retrofit, or remodeling approved as an electric or gas utility cost-savings measure”.

  Dave Good
District Department of the Environment
Energy Division
51 N Street NE
Washington, DC 20002
Phone: (202) 645-4519
Fax: (202) 535-2881
Web Site:
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Disclaimer: The information presented on the DSIRE web site provides an unofficial overview of financial incentives and other policies. It does not constitute professional tax advice or other professional financial guidance, and it should not be used as the only source of information when making purchasing decisions, investment decisions or tax decisions, or when executing other binding agreements. Please refer to the individual contact provided below each summary to verify that a specific financial incentive or other policy applies to your project.

While the DSIRE staff strives to provide the best information possible, the DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. make no representations or warranties, either express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of the information. The DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. disclaim all liability of any kind arising out of your use or misuse of the information contained or referenced on DSIRE Web pages.

Copyright 2014 - 2015 North Carolina State University, under NREL Subcontract No. XEU-0-99515-01. Permission granted only for personal or educational use, or for use by or on behalf of the U.S. government. North Carolina State University prohibits the unauthorized display, reproduction, sale, and/or distribution of all or portions of the content of the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) without prior, written consent.