Unlocking the Potential of Solar for Nonprofits and Tax Exempt Entities

CollectivePACE™ is a collaboration between CollectiveSun™, the nation’s only company dedicated exclusively to helping nonprofits and tax-exempt organizations fund solar projects, and Nuveen Green Capital, the nation’s leading commercial PACE capital provider. CollectivePACE™ combines the financing models of solar leasing and state-legislated C-PACE programs to unlock the potential of solar power by capturing tax credits and providing financing terms that allow for positive cash flow from day one.


The economics of solar are not as attractive for institutions that cannot monetize solar tax credits and benefits. CollectivePACE™ delivers this value to nonprofits through a 12% or more discount off the solar system price in exchange for ownership and operation of the system with guaranteed solar performance for the non-profit. Nonprofits leverage the ownership of their properties to secure affordable long-term financing through C-PACE to cover the balance of system cost.

Buy downs starting at 12% of project cost via upfront monetization of solar tax credit

Ownership option after 6 years

Remaining amount financed via C-PACE

Zero cash out of pocket

3rd party ownership with guaranteed system performance

“CollectivePACE Financing has proved to be a valuable resource in working directly with CT’s many nonprofits. For too long, nonprofits have not been able to take advantage of the performance based incentives. With CollectivePACE, they have the ability to go solar and reap all of the benefits.”


— James Patenaude, Director of Operations, Smart Roofs Solar
CollectivePACE™ Cash Purchase
Limits use of nonprofit funds
Monetizes tax benefits of solar for nonprofit
Funding term matches system life
Cash flow positive each year of ownership
Performance guarantee included
System performance monitored
Operations and maintenance (O&M) included
Can cover non-solar property improvements
“Especially through a public and private partnership, it is so nice to watch the CollectivePACE vehicle for non-profits make possible the energy and money savings happen in such a convenient, non-invasive way on an entity’s out of pocket and bottom line. It’s filling a gap in options that were needed for large scale savings over time without large investments up front. What is especially nice is the ability to keep open the business line of credit for a small to medium size business operation with nothing out of pocket.”

— Quentin Kaplan, Colar Energy Consultant, Renova Energy

For more information, or to apply, please contact:

Tim Olson

Associate Director, Solar & Storage
Nuveen Green Capital

Matthew Brennan

VP of Sales

Frequently Asked Questions About CollectivePACE™

What are the agreements involved in CollectivePACE?
There are two agreements that are part of CollectivePACE. The first agreement is the PACE loan agreement which is entered into by you and Nuveen Green Capital. The second agreement is the service contract, also referred to as the Solar Power Agreement (SPA), which is entered into by you and CollectiveSun. The installation agreement is a separate agreement between CollectiveSun and the solar installer you have selected.

If I use CollectivePACE, who owns the solar panels? Is this a lease or PPA? What do I get as the host nonprofit?
It is a service contract where CollectiveSun owns, operates and maintains the equipment. You receive all of the solar electricity output for no additional cost. At the end of six years, you have the option to assume ownership for no additional cost on the service contract (described in more detail below).

Who is responsible for operating and maintaining the system?
CollectiveSun is responsible for all aspects of operations and maintenance. In addition, if the system were to stop performing, the IRS could take back the tax benefits. CollectiveSun has a significant financial incentive to ensure proper system performance. As such, our interests are very much in alignment with yours, our nonprofit partner. After six years, you have the option to own the system for a net cost of $0 in compliance with special IRS rules, described below. Having CollectiveSun own the system for the first six years is a benefit for you because during that time CollectiveSun is taking care of all system operations and maintenance. If anything were to go wrong, it usually happens if the first year or two so when the system is transferred to you after six years you are receiving a fully vetted system.

Who gets the Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) produced by the system? Who claims the tax benefits (ITC, Depreciation, etc)?
CollectiveSun claims the tax benefits but all other benefits belong to you (i.e. any applicable utility rebates, state rebates, renewable energy credits, etc). Of course, all of the energy is yours to keep as well.

Can I take ownership of the system? How and when can I do that? What does that mean for me as the new owner?
Yes, at the end of year six you may elect an early termination right in the service contract by notifying CollectiveSun in writing. No additional cash payment is required. If the system overproduces power during the initial 6 year period, there is no additional cost to you. On the other hand, if the system underproduces power during the initial 6 year period, (below 90% of the expected generation), a payment will be made to you. This is called the “Low Performance Compensation Amount” and is detailed in the service contract with CollectiveSun.

What do I need to do to secure CollectivePACE financing?
If you are interested in securing financing for your nonprofit solar, energy efficiency, water efficiency or seismic retrofit project, please contact us at We will ask for an application from the owner of the property (printed and scanned), including information on the scope of the proposed project. Our transaction manager can review the project, determine if it is eligible, and then walk you through the additional financial documents that are needed. We can then put together a binding term sheet, after which we expect to have the projected funded in 4-6 weeks.

If I take ownership of the system after year 6, do I keep making PACE loan payments?
Yes. Typical PACE loan terms are at least 20 years. At the end of year 6, if the Early Termination Right in the service contract is elected, you will own the system and PACE payments will continue according to the terms of the PACE loan with Nuveen Green Capital. You do not have to pay off the PACE loan early if you choose to take ownership of the system.