CastleGreen Finance Closes the Largest C-PACE Project in Connecticut

IRVINGTON, N.Y. — CastleGreen Finance is pleased to announce the closing of One Park Road, West Hartford, CT, a $13,767,000 Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) transaction. In partnership with Lexington Partners LLC, the property developer, and the Connecticut Green Bank, the program administrator for the state of Connecticut C-PACE program, CastleGreen Finance is delighted to be part of the largest C-PACE transaction to date in Connecticut.

Project Overview

For 135 years, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Chambéry have occupied a convent on Park Road in West Hartford, Connecticut. One Park Road is the redevelopment of this iconic property which will add a 292-unit multi-family housing complex on the 22-acre property while maintaining much of the greenspace and preserving the Sisters’ history and ensuring their retirement security at the property.

One wing of the historic convent will continue to be owned and occupied by the Sisters. The remaining 111,000 square feet of the Colonial Revival-style convent is undergoing renovation into a mix of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments.

A new 230,000 square foot four-story building over a one-story parking deck, will be connected to the existing structures and is designed to look like a series of separate buildings while providing a neighborhood feel.

The long-discussed redevelopment of this iconic property is the result of the partnership between the Sisters of St. Joseph, Lexington Partners, and the Town of West Hartford, and it will bring new rental housing to the fast-growing Park Road/West Hartford area. Construction on the $70 million project is scheduled to begin in mid-2021, with completion expected in the spring/summer of 2023.

CastleGreen Finance has facilitated approval of the $13.7 million C-PACE project through the Connecticut Green Bank’s C-PACE program. The project provides the project developer with access to affordable, long term financing for qualifying clean energy and energy efficiency upgrades that lower energy costs.

Martin J. Kenny, president of Lexington Partners, states, “We feel the Park Road business district is to West Hartford as Brooklyn is to New York City. The project will serve to strengthen the Park Road business district and provide a gateway to and combine with what is going on in Parkville. We needed creative financing in our capital stack to help bring this project to fruition. The CastleGreen team presented a compelling financing solution and delivered on time and as promised.”

C-PACE financing of clean, sustainable energy efficiency projects embraces the collaboration of public/private financing of energy improvements for the redevelopment of this iconic property.

Sal Tarsia, Managing Partner of CastleGreen Finance states, “Lexington Partners is a key player in the revitalization of the Park Road business district, creatively utilizing C-PACE financing for its ESG initiatives. It was a pleasure working with the Lexington team on a redevelopment which exemplifies the original purpose of what C-PACE was created for, but also respects and preserves the history of the property.”

“We are excited to see CastleGreen Finance closing their first project in Connecticut; the largest C-PACE project to date, in the state. This project is an excellent example of private capital working in the state’s open market for C-PACE financing,” said Bryan Garcia, President and CEO of Connecticut Green Bank. “The redevelopment at the Sisters of St. Joseph’s convent will not only make energy usage at the property more efficient and affordable, it will create housing opportunities and continue to support the Sisters, who strive to serve all people, especially those in need. This project will make a positive impact in West Hartford and exemplifies the Green Bank’s vision of a planet protected by the love of humanity.”

About CastleGreen Finance – www.CastleGreenfinance.com

CastleGreen Finance, in partnership with X-Caliber Capital, is a private capital source focused on Commercial PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) financing. CastleGreen Finance brings extensive experience in commercial real estate across a broad range of financial disciplines. The extensive real estate experience of the CastleGreen team, combined with its core C-PACE capabilities, provides our clients with the knowledge and resources to create a superior capital stack that meets all its needs and helps to unlock the potential of their commercial real estate. We understand that the most important part of any real estate transaction is showing up with the capital at closing. Our team focuses on the details of every deal to ensure we can get our clients to the finish line.

Running Brook Farms Adds Solar System to Power Their Business

Using a Rural Energy for America Program grant and C-PACE financing through the Connecticut Green Bank, the Killingworth business will save on their electricity costs

Hartford, CT (June 21, 2021) – The Connecticut Green Bank and Running Brook Farms in Killingworth are proud to announce the closing of Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) financing for the installation of a rooftop solar photovoltaic system at the property at 219 Route 80. The garden center and landscaping business has been in Killingworth for more than 50 years. In addition to a nursery and greenhouses, Running Brook Farms offers a complete range of landscaping services from design to construction. In 2019, Running Brook Farms became one of the first farms in Connecticut to grow hemp for the production of medicinal CBD oil.

“We have chosen to invest in solar technology simply because it is the right thing to do both for our business and the environment. We feel that is our responsibility to adopt more sustainable agricultural practices. In particular given the intense energy demands associated with indoor cannabis production, solar technology should be part of every growers’ sustainability plan!” said Scott Papoosha, owner of Running Brook Farms.

Running Brook Farms in Killingworth

The 47.52 kW solar system will be installed by Waldo Renewable Electric of Old Lyme, a solar contractor using the C-PACE program for the first time. The system is projected to produce energy savings equal to carbon sequestered by 450 tree seedlings grown for 10 years and gross total cost savings of more than $570,000 over the 25-year effective useful life of the panels.

Running Brook Farms was able to secure a Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant that covered 25% of the total project cost, with C-PACE financing covering the remainder. The Connecticut Resource Conservation & Development’s CT Farm Energy Program (CFEP) helped Running Brook Farms with one-on-one assistance in applying for the REAP grant. Since 2010 CFEP has assisted with the implementation of over $24 million dollars in energy projects in the state which equates to just under $5 million in REAP grants secured.

“Making farms resilient is more important than ever. Farms are not only stewards of the land but also providers of our food,” said Amanda Fargo-Johnson, CT Farm Energy Program (CFEP) Director. “Assistance from CFEP can help a farm create a sustainable plan for their energy needs, whether through energy efficiency upgrades or generating their own renewable energy. For some farms it’s one project for other farms it may mean multiple projects in phases to help them attain energy resilience.”

This project is also credited as the one that recently propelled Connecticut’s C-PACE program Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program over the $200 million in clean energy investment milestone.

“I’m excited that Running Brook Farms is able to move forward with this solar project, and that they helped the program reach this milestone. Connecticut’s C-PACE program is the most successful in per capita deployment when compared to other state programs,” said Mackey Dykes, Vice President of Financing Programs at the Green Bank. “It takes a strong network of contractors, lenders, and building owners working together towards the goal of reducing building level emissions to make this happen.”

For more information on Running Brook Farms please visit https://runningbrookfarms.com/, or for information on their CBD products, visit https://runningbrookhempco.com/. Information on C-PACE can be found at www.cpace.com.

Statement on the Passage of House Bill 6441

As we approach our 10th anniversary on July 1, 2021, the Connecticut Green Bank is incredibly excited that Governor Lamont’s House Bill 6441, with bipartisan support, will advance the green bank model that we have pioneered to extend beyond clean energy to now include environmental infrastructure. This increased scope will encompass structures, facilities, systems, services, and improvement projects related to water, waste and recycling, climate adaptation and resiliency, agriculture, land conservation, parks and recreation, and environmental markets such as carbon offsets and ecosystem services.

We extend our gratitude to state policymakers for expanding the Green Bank’s mission to confront climate change beyond the clean energy sector. We want to thank many key parties for their leadership and support of this scope expansion:

  • The Governor’s Office and the Governor’s Council on Climate Change (GC3), for their extensive work and community building on this important topic.
  • The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, especially Commissioner Katie Dykes and Dr. Rebecca French, Director, Office of Climate Planning, who have been leading a stakeholder and public engagement process to support Connecticut’s efforts to confront climate change.
  • The Office of Policy and Management (OPM), specifically Secretary Melissa McCaw and Claire Coleman, Undersecretary for Legal Affairs, who brought the GC3 proposal into a Governor’s bill on climate change.
  • Senator Christine Cohen and Representative Joseph Gresko for their leadership on the Environment Committee.
  • Leaders of the Banking Committee, who championed a similar proposal in 2019, and the Energy and Technology Committee, who have been steadfast partners in their support for the Green Bank’s mission over the last decade.
  • Many mission-aligned groups in Connecticut, including the Audubon Connecticut, The Nature Conservancy, CT Land Conservation Council, Save the Sound, CT Forest and Park Association, CT Conservation Districts, CT Conference of Municipalities, and the CT Council of Small Towns, who were partners in advocating passage of this legislation.

In addition to the scope expansion, this passage creates an Environmental Infrastructure Fund within the Green Bank; increases bonding terms for clean energy and environmental infrastructure projects; and increases, from 80% to 100%, the amount of financing Green Bank and other non-equity financing sources can provide to projects.

Upon Governor Lamont’s final approval of this legislation, we look forward to building upon our last 10 years of success by implementing this policy and by meeting its promise in helping Connecticut mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Barker Specialty, Premium Promotional Product Provider, Goes Solar

Barker Specialty in Cheshire brings solar to 55 Realty Drive property through C-PACE financing

 

Hartford, CT (May 5, 2021) – The Connecticut Green Bank proudly announces that 55 Realty Drive in Cheshire has closed on Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) financing for the installation of a rooftop solar photovoltaic system. The 26,458-square foot office building is owned by sibling partners Amy, Gerald, Adrienne and Steven Barker, and is home to six tenants, including Barker Specialty Advertising Co. Inc.

“Barker Specialty is committed to help build a sustainable future for our community and planet. We mitigate our carbon footprint through environmentally conscious actions, and partner with suppliers who responsibly source products and materials,” said Gerry Barker, President of Barker Specialty. “Adding solar to our property helps us take another step to our goals.”

The 102.4 kW solar system will be installed by Verogy, a solar developer headquartered in Hartford. The system is projected to produce energy savings equal to the energy used by 212 homes in a year and gross total cost savings of more than $730,000 over the 25-year effective useful life of the panels.

“To reach our goal of continuous reduction of our carbon footprint, we have looked inward to what we could control through business operations and culture. This project is a giant leap towards showing how our buildings can also be a part of the solution,” said Jane Leukart, Director of Sustainability at Barker Specialty.

Barker Specialty has been the one-stop source for all promotional and marketing needs for over 70 years. Barker is a service oriented, innovative promotional marketing agency, specializing in promotional products, logoed merchandise, apparel, premium gifts, awards, tradeshow displays and signage.

“We are always excited to see businesses using C-PACE financing to advance their sustainability plans,” said Mackey Dykes, Vice President of Financing Programs at the Green Bank. “The installation of solar systems is a great way to reduce costs and improve the environmental footprint of a building.”

For more information on C-PACE please visit www.cpace.com.

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Green Liberty Bonds $25 Million Second Issuance Sells Out

Connecticut Green Bank’s lower-dollar denomination bond received strong support from individual buyers in Connecticut and across the country as well as from institutional buyers

 

Hartford, CT (April 23, 2021) – In celebration of the 51st Earth Day, the Connecticut Green Bank issued its second Green Liberty Bonds to retail and institutional investors, and sold out of nearly $25 million in bonds over two days. This builds upon a successful, award-winning 2020 issuance which sold nearly $17 million of bonds last July. With nearly $100 million in orders, demand this year was again greater than the supply of bonds could satisfy, showing the high-level of interest in supporting investment to confront climate change in Connecticut.

Retail investors were given priority during a one-day retail order period on Wednesday, April 21. Total retail orders received during this order period surpassed $20 million. With first priority given to Connecticut citizen investors, their orders for nearly $12 million of bonds were filled before approximately $9 million from national orders.  Institutional orders topped $77 million.

“The demand for the Earth Day 2021 issuance of the Green Liberty Bonds was so strong, that we had nearly four times as much demand as we had available. We saw incredible demand from retail investors in Connecticut and across the country, and enthusiastic institutional investors seeking to invest in confronting climate change in Connecticut,” said Bryan Garcia, President and CEO of the Green Bank.

Individuals accounted for 57% of the retail orders with the balance from professionally managed retail accounts such as private wealth managers and bank trusts.

Institutional investors were able to place orders on April 22, and there was strong interest from a variety of traditional municipal investors and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investors attracted by the issuance’s strong climate bonds certification standards. The overall interest cost dropped to 2.42% from the 2.61% achieved for the inaugural bonds issued last July, notwithstanding a significant rise in longer term interest rates.

“In two years, the Green Bank has issued more than $80 million in verified climate bonds to support residential solar PV and energy efficiency in Connecticut. The overwhelming response by investors to our latest bond offering as well as the pricing achieved signifies broad acceptance of the Connecticut Green Bank as an issuer,” noted Bert Hunter, the Green Bank’s Chief Investment Officer.

The use of proceeds from this issuance supports incentives for nearly 7,000 households and 60 megawatts of residential solar photovoltaic systems, totaling nearly $220 million of investment in projects in 165 cities and towns across the state, which created over 2,100 jobs.

The Green Liberty Bonds were created in honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day – a type of green bond whose proceeds are used to invest in projects that confront climate change in Connecticut. Modelled after the Series-E War Bonds of the 1940s, the bonds must be able to be purchased by everyday citizens through lower-dollar denominations (no more than $1,000), enabling them to invest in green projects in their community and to save for the planet.

To offer the Green Liberty Bonds, the Green Bank worked with Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Inc. as lead underwriter, Ramirez & Co., Inc. as co-underwriter, Shipman & Goodwin LLP as bond counsel, Lamont Financial Services Corporation as financial advisor, and Bank of New York Mellon Trust Company, N.A. as trustee. The Green Liberty Bonds, state supported using a special capital reserve fund, received an A rating from Standard and Poor’s. They were labeled as “Certified Climate Bonds” by the Climate Bonds Initiative, and compliance of the bond’s issuance with the Climate Bonds Standards was verified by Kestrel Verifiers. Support from the staffs of the Office of the State Treasurer and of the Office of Policy and Management was also instrumental.

“The Green Liberty Bonds were a huge success with the investor community. Investors liked the credit and were also attracted by the opportunity to invest in Certified Climate Bonds,” said Eric McKean, Managing Director of Stifel.

Encouraged by these first two issuances, the Green Bank anticipates offering Green Liberty Bonds annually around Earth Day. To stay informed about future issuances, please sign up for notifications at www.greenlibertybonds.com.

 

 

Disclaimer

This press release does not constitute a recommendation or an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security or other financial instrument, including Green Liberty Bonds, or to adopt any investment strategy. Any offer or solicitation with respect to Green Liberty Bonds will be made solely by means of the Preliminary Official Statement and Official Statement, which will describe the actual terms and conditions of the Green Liberty Bonds. The information provided is subject in all respects to the information presented in the complete Preliminary Official Statement prepared in connection with Green Liberty Bonds. Any investment decisions regarding any of the Green Liberty Bonds should only be made after a careful review of the complete Preliminary Official Statement.

 

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Low- and Moderate-Income Homeowners Offered 0% Interest Rate for Energy Upgrades through Smart-E Loan Program

Smart-E Loan Spring Special Offer has a 1.99% rate for all homeowners making energy improvements

 

Rocky Hill, CT (March 18, 2021) – As part of its Smart-E Loan Spring Special Offer, the Connecticut Green Bank announces 0% loan rates for Connecticut households that are at or below 80% Area Median Income (“AMI”) as defined by the “vulnerable communities” definition underneath Public Act 20-05 passed in the special session last fall. The Smart-E Loan unlocks financing for homeowners seeking to make home performance and energy upgrades, such as adding insulation, improving windows, updating heating, ventilation, and cooling (HVAC) systems with new boilers, furnaces, or heat pumps (air or ground source), installing electric vehicle charging stations, and adding battery storage to solar PV systems. Additionally, homeowners approved for assistance with crumbling foundations can qualify for 0% Smart-E loans. For all other homeowners, the rate will be lowered to 1.99%.

“The Smart-E Loan Spring Special is intended to further stimulate the recovery of the state’s clean energy economy by offering low interest rates to all homeowners for projects that reduce their energy cost burdens. By offering a special zero interest rate for lower income households, we hope to help these families reduce their energy bills, and improve the comfort of their home. With nearly 400 contractors registered in the Smart-E program, many local small businesses will also benefit from this promotion,” said Bryan Garcia, President and CEO of the Connecticut Green Bank.

The Smart-E Loan is made available through a network of nine participating local banks, credit unions, and a community development financial institution (CDFI) across the state.

Smart-E Loans through the Spring Special Offer are available for terms of 5, 7, and 10-years. Insulation, heat pump and window loans require completion of an Energize CT Home Energy Solutions (HES) assessment or proof of having completed an energy assessment within the last three years to qualify for the limited-time, reduced rate.

For more information please visit www.ctgreenbank.com/smart-e.

 

Communications Tower in Bolton First Known in U.S. to Use C-PACE Financing to Install Solar Array

Environmentally-conscious tower owner Marcus Communications will benefit from significant energy savings

Rocky Hill, CT (Dec. 14, 2020) – The Connecticut Green Bank is pleased to announce the closing of Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) financing for the installation of a ground-mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) system at a 450-foot telecommunications tower owned by Marcus Communications LLC. Located in Bolton, the tower and support equipment provide communication services, including emergency services, to a wide array of customers and clients. This is the first time that C-PACE has been used to finance a project at a communications tower in the United States, according to PACENation, a national nonprofit association that advocates for PACE financing

“As the first use of PACE on a communications tower, this innovative project is a model for how PACE can be used to increase the sustainability of our critical infrastructure. We applaud the work of the Green Bank in completing this project and look forward to seeing more deals like this one,” said Colin Bishopp, Executive Director of PACENation.

The tower was originally constructed in 1995 and extended in 2005, going from a 300-ft to 450-ft, to become the tallest tower in Eastern Connecticut. In recent years, leaders at Marcus Communications have begun an initiative at their office to minimize the company’s impact on the environment through improvements such as installing energy efficient lighting, solar panels, heating and cooling systems, and by providing free electric vehicle charging to employees, vendors and customers.

“We continue to be proactive in our efforts to be environmentally responsible and actively pursue solutions and enhancements that support that vision,” said Bruce Marcus, CTO, Marcus Communications LLC. “This solar project is a great example. We are proud of the work we are doing to move the world towards renewable energy.”

The 76 kW-AC solar PV system will be installed by Marcus Communications with guidance from Harness the Sun LLC of Lebanon. The project is estimated to save the company more than $740,000, over the 25-year effective useful life of the panels. The total project cost is approximately $250,000.

“It’s exciting to see new types of properties taking advantage of C-PACE financing to improve their energy efficiency or add renewables,” said Mackey Dykes, Vice President of Financing Programs at the Connecticut Green Bank. “We hope that other communications companies follow the example that the team at Marcus has set.”

To see a video of the installation, please visit https://youtu.be/AXQT–XNxec

About the Connecticut Green Bank

The Connecticut Green Bank was established by the Connecticut General Assembly in 2011 as the nation’s first green bank. The Green Bank’s mission is to confront climate change and provide all of society a healthier, more prosperous future by increasing and accelerating the flow of private capital into markets that energize the green economy. This is accomplished by leveraging limited public resources to scale-up and mobilize private capital investment into Connecticut. In 2017, the Connecticut Green Bank received the Innovations in American Government Award from the Harvard Kennedy School Ash Center for Democratic Governance and innovation for their “Sparking the Green Bank Movement” entry. For more information about the Connecticut Green Bank, please visit www.ctgreenbank.com

About Marcus Communications

Marcus Communications was founded in 1969 in Connecticut by owner, CTO, and LMR industry innovator Bruce Marcus. While the technology from 1969 to today has changed completely, our core mission remains the same. We manage your communications with an innovative array of technical solutions. Over the years, we’ve helped thousands of customers achieve better safety and efficiency by supercharging their communications. When you choose Marcus, you’re not choosing just any communications company. Your choosing the premiere leader in communications. Your choosing a company that hires veterans and gives back to the community, supporting events like the Hartford Marathon or the Special Olympics. You’re choosing the leaders who work tirelessly to research and develop cutting-edge solutions for its customers. To learn more, please visit https://www.marcuscommunications.com/.

Connecticut Green Bank Sells Four Solar Projects to Inclusive Prosperity Capital, Announces Debt Facility

Two schools, an Islamic community center and a Boys and Girls Club will benefit from the reduced energy costs provided by the solar systems

Rocky Hill, CT (Dec. 3, 2020) – The Connecticut Green Bank announces the acquisition of four solar power purchase agreement (PPA) projects by Inclusive Prosperity Capital (IPC) as well as the closing of a debt facility designed to help IPC continue its management and growth of the Green Bank’s PPA portfolio in Connecticut.

“IPC will be one of our key partners in continuing to serve the Connecticut solar market and expand upon the success the Connecticut Green Bank has had in creatively de-risking projects to provide access to previously underserved solar customers,” said Bert Hunter, Chief Investment Officer at Connecticut Green Bank. “This transaction continues to exemplify the Green Bank model of leveraging limited public dollars to mobilize private investment.”

Created in 2018 as a spin out of the Connecticut Green Bank, IPC is a mission-driven specialty finance organization working at the intersection of community development, clean energy finance, and climate impact. In Connecticut, they partner with  the Green Bank on a number of programs including the solar PPA, which focuses on delivering energy savings to a variety of customers, like commercial properties, houses of worship, affordable multifamily, and non-profits.

The solar projects sold to IPC include installations on two schools, an Islamic community center and a Boys and Girls Club. The projects total 495 kW and are anticipated to save the customers approximately $20,000 in their first year of operation.  These solar customers are:

  • Boys and Girls Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley, Shelton, 127 kW Rooftop Project
  • Bridgeport Islamic Community Center, Bridgeport, 75 kW Rooftop Project
  • The Country School, Madison, 107 kW Rooftop Project
  • Washington Montessori School, New Preston, 186 kW Rooftop Project

“The Country School’s solar project has had a catalytic effect. Not only have our students, as future leaders, seen the benefits of renewable energy but so too have their families, as they install solar at their homes and businesses, recognizing the short-term and long-term benefits for the country and the world. While our utility costs have already decreased, the greatest benefit is how excited our students have been, knowing that they have had a hand in this project. Connecticut Green Bank has been a great partner throughout the experience. We only wish we had more roofs for them,” said Head of School John Fixx.

“Our goal for adding solar to our Shelton facility was two-fold. First to be good stewards for our environment and second to reduce our operating expenses. By working with Encon and the Connecticut Green Bank, our club was able to reduce our carbon footprint, set a good example for our Club kids and reduce our monthly electric bill with no money out of pocket for the installation” says Shaye Roscoe, Chief Executive Officer of The Boys & Girls Club of The Lower Naugatuck Valley.

Learn more about the solar PPA at https://www.ctgreenbank.com/programs/building-owners/green-bank-solar-ppa/.

About the Connecticut Green Bank

The Connecticut Green Bank was established by the Connecticut General Assembly in 2011 as the nation’s first green bank. The Green Bank’s mission is to confront climate change and provide all of society a healthier, more prosperous future by increasing and accelerating the flow of private capital into markets that energize the green economy. This is accomplished by leveraging limited public resources to scale-up and mobilize private capital investment into Connecticut. In 2017, the Connecticut Green Bank received the Innovations in American Government Award from the Harvard Kennedy School Ash Center for Democratic Governance and innovation for their “Sparking the Green Bank Movement” entry. For more information about the Connecticut Green Bank, please visit www.ctgreenbank.com

About Inclusive Prosperity Capital:

Inclusive Prosperity Capital, Inc. (“IPC”) is a not-for-profit investment fund scaling clean energy financing solutions that channels investment capital to program partners in communities that need it most. As a spin-out and strategic partner of the Connecticut Green Bank, IPC is focused on scaling its work in Connecticut and expanding its successful model nationwide by accessing mission-driven capital and partnerships. IPC operates at the intersection of community development, clean energy finance, and climate impact. We believe everyone should have access to the benefits of clean energy, helping to deliver Inclusive Prosperity.

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Construction Nears Completion at Connecticut’s First Biogas Dairy Digester System

Fort Hill Farms digester will produce renewable energy and soil products from food waste and manure

Thompson, Conn. (Nov.  19, 2020) – Earlier this summer, ground was broken at Fort Hill Farms in Thompson to begin the construction of Connecticut’s first biogas dairy digester system that will recycle food waste and manure into renewable energy and soil products. The project is moving forward thanks to a partnership between the farm, Live Oak Bank, the Connecticut Green Bank, and Ag-Grid Energy. When completed, the digester is expected to produce 550 kilowatts of electricity and reduce 25,000 tons of organic waste annually.

“I want to thank everyone who played a role in helping this first-of-its-kind project in Connecticut become a reality, from the Department of Agriculture providing funding assistance through the Farm Transition Grant for the project’s planning phase, to financing by the Green Bank,” Governor Lamont said.  “Scaling up infrastructure that manages organic waste is so critical for our state’s sustainability goals.  This innovative project is a win for our economy and our environment, and something that we hope to advance more of through DEEP’s participation in the Connecticut Coalition for Sustainable Materials Management, launched in August.”

Fort Hill Farms is a fourth-generation farm that currently has over 400 cows, 230 milking, and is part of two dairy farm cooperatives named The Farmer’s Cow and Agri-Mark (Cabot Cheese), which supplies products to both large, big box groceries and local markets. The farm has been regarded as “Best in New England” by Yankee Magazine, named Connecticut Tourism Ambassadors, and in 2013 was the first ever winner of Thompson’s “Business of the Year” Award. Due to their focus on local products and being named Connecticut Tourism Ambassadors, the farm is a popular destination for people to enjoy.

“Cows produce cow manure which can fertilize your gardens or make electricity for your home. This completes the circle, growing the food to feed the cows and then using cow manure to power our farm,” said Kies Orr, co-owner and operator of Fort Hill Farms. “It just feels good to be doing the right thing and being sustainable for the next generation.”

The digester project was developed by Ag-Grid Energy LLC, a company focused on anaerobic digestion technology, and is being constructed by Martin Construction Resource.

“Ag-Grid Energy is very excited to lead the installation of first dairy digester that produces renewable electricity in State of Connecticut,” said Dr. Rashi Akki, Founder and CEO of Ag-Grid Energy. “This project is a culmination of State’s supportive net-metering and food waste diversion laws.  It has also been an excellent partnership between Town of Thompson, NRCS, DEEP and Eversource to allow for permitting of this very first such installation.  We thank the City of Middletown and City of New Britain for also supporting this project by being the pioneers and purchasing the renewable electricity. We thank Connecticut Green Bank and Live Oak Bank for financially supporting this project and Ag-Grid Energy in general.”

There are a number of benefits of integrating an anaerobic digester with a dairy farm. It helps to enhance farm sustainability with improved manure management, generates an additional income stream for the farm, and produces steady electricity generation. A digester also helps reduce methane emissions coming from cow manure, improving air quality and lowering greenhouse gases.

“We are very excited to have played a role in this project’s financing, and to help a local family farm continue to find ways to become more sustainable while creating a great product and being a tourist attraction,” said Bryan Garcia, President and CEO of the Green Bank. “Anytime we are involved with a ‘first’ in the state that supports our joint energy and environmental goals and opens doors to similar future projects, it’s a win for everyone.”

This project is being financed by Live Oak Bank as the senior lender, the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) Lender and Development Company Loan Program, a grant from the USDA Rural Energy for America Program (“REAP”), a grant from the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, and the developer’s own equity investment.

“Live Oak is very grateful to assist the development of this innovative project and support the joint venture between Fort Hill Farms and Ag-Grid,” said Max Vernier, VP, Head of Bioenergy, at Live Oak. “This is another great step forward in the decarbonization of the U.S., especially for the state of Connecticut, and a flagship project led by an impressive team of experts to demonstrate the full capability of a circular economy.”

Construction is anticipated to be completed in December 2020.

 

About Ag-Grid Energy LLC

Ag-Grid Energy LLC was established by Rashi Akki on March 30, 2016 a Delaware limited liability company.  Ag-Grid Energy has a vision to drive dairy farm sustainability by converting agricultural and organic waste to energy, enhance nutrient management practices thereby improving farm viability and financial stability.  This is accomplished by partnering with dairy farms, local utilities, local food waste providers and local regulatory bodies to develop stand-alone special purpose entities that support the states mission of renewable energy and waste reduction.  For more information about Ag-Grid Energy LLC, please visit www.aggridenergy.com.

About the Connecticut Green Bank

The Connecticut Green Bank was established by the Connecticut General Assembly on July 1, 2011 as a part of Public Act 11-80. As the nation’s first full-scale green bank, its mission is to confront climate change and provide all of society a healthier, more prosperous future by increasing and accelerating the flow of private capital into markets that energize the green economy. This is accomplished by leveraging limited public resources to scale-up and mobilize private capital investment into Connecticut. In 2017, the Connecticut Green Bank received the Innovations in American Government Award from the Harvard Kennedy School Ash Center for Democratic Governance and innovation for their “Sparking the Green Bank Movement” entry. For more information about the Connecticut Green Bank, please visit www.ctgreenbank.com.

About Fort Hill Farms

Fort Hill Farms is a family-owned and-operated dairy farm located in Thompson. The farm has been active through three generations in over 70 years. We thrive on sustainability and educating people about local farming. To learn more visit https://forthillfarms.com/.

About Live Oak Bank

Live Oak was established in 2007, and we’re on a mission to be America’s small business bank.  We are proud to contribute to the growth of small businesses, drive job creation, create prosperity and boost local economies by structuring creative capital investments. Live Oak is the largest SBA lender and the largest USDA Rural Development lender in the country by volume of originations. Our project finance team has deployed over $1B in debt investments to the renewable energy sector since 2016 and will continue to accelerate the shift to sustainability.

Green Liberty Bond Named Bond Buyer Deal of the Year Finalist as the Winner in Innovative Financing Category

November 10, 2020 — The Bond Buyer announced yesterday that the Connecticut Green Bank is among the recipients of its annual Deal of the Year awards as the winner in the Innovative Financing category for their 2020 Green Liberty Bond issuance.

For the second straight year, The Bond Buyer has named winners in 10 categories: five awards in our regional areas of coverage, along with five in additional categories. All award winners are also finalists for the national Deal of the Year Award, which will be announced at a virtual event to be held Dec. 16. This is the 19th year that The Bond Buyer has recognized outstanding achievement in municipal finance.

“This year’s lineup reflects the full range of communities and public purposes this market comprises,” said Mike Scarchilli, Editor in Chief of The Bond Buyer. “The deals honored exemplify the creativity and resourcefulness this industry brings to bear on projects that advance the infrastructure and quality of life in the nation’s municipalities. These qualities take on additional importance here in 2020, as issuers across the nation face unprecedented challenges.”

The Bond Buyer’s editorial board considered a range of factors when judging entries, including: creativity, the ability to pull a complex transaction together under challenging conditions, the ability to serve as a model for other financings, and the public purpose for which a deal’s proceeds were used.

“We are very excited and honored to be recognized by The Bond Buyer in the Innovative Financing category for 2020,” said Lonnie Reed, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Green Bank. “Issuing our first Green Liberty Bond during the COVID-19 pandemic presented unique challenges, however, the response from retail investors in Connecticut and across the country was incredibly positive. The desire to invest in Green Liberty Bonds is strong because it is both great for the environment and great for the green energy economy.”

The Connecticut Green Bank’s $16.8 million issuance of “Green Liberty Bonds” is this year’s Innovative Financing winner. Modeled after the Series-E War Bonds of the 1940s, this new sub-category of green bonds is sold in maximum denominations of $1,000, making them accessible to everyday citizens and retail investors.

To see all the finalists, please visit The Bond Buyer’s announcement.