[Adopted 3-23-2017 by Bill No. 3-17, effective 7-1-2017]
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- CLEAN ENERGY FINANCING AGREEMENT
- An agreement between a property owner and a clean energy lender providing for the terms and conditions of a clean energy loan.
- CLEAN ENERGY LENDER
- A private lender providing a clean energy loan.
- CLEAN ENERGY LOAN
- Any loan made by a private lender to a property owner under the Clean Energy Loan Program.
- CLEAN ENERGY LOAN OBLIGATION
- All indebtedness and obligations of a property owner to a clean energy lender under a clean energy financing agreement.
- CLEAN ENERGY LOAN PROGRAM ADMINISTRATOR
- Any person or entity selected by the County to manage the Clean Energy Loan Program.
- COMMERCIAL PROPERTY
- Has the meaning stated in the Local Government Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, § 1-1101 et seq.
- PROPERTY OWNER
- An owner of commercial property as defined in this section.
There is a Clean Energy Loan Program to finance energy efficiency projects and renewable energy projects.
The Director of Finance may adopt rules and regulations to administer the Clean Energy Loan Program consistent with this article.
The County Commissioners of Allegany County may enter into an agreement with a private entity to administer the Clean Energy Loan Program.
Commercial property owners are eligible to participate in the Clean Energy Loan Program for nonaccelerating loans greater than $25,000.
In order to be eligible for a clean energy loan, the property owner shall:
Have an ownership interest of 100% in the property located in Allegany County for which improvements are being made.
Demonstrate that the most recent property taxes, assessments, and charges on the property have been paid.
Provide a copy of written notice to all current holders of a mortgage or deed of trust who have a priority recorded lien on the property and written proof of express consent to the clean energy loan as a priority lien by all current holders of a mortgage or deed of trust on the property.
Establish that the owner of the commercial property is able to repay the loan provided under the Clean Energy Loan Program in a manner substantially similar to that required for a mortgage loan under the Commercial Law Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland.
The following improvements, either new or replacement, qualify as energy efficiency or renewable energy projects under the Clean Energy Loan Program:
Solar energy equipment.
Geothermal energy devices.
Wind energy systems.
Water conservation devices not required by law.
Any construction, renovation or retrofitting of commercial property to reduce energy consumption, including high efficiency lighting and building systems, heating ventilation air-conditioning (HVAC) upgrades, high efficiency boilers and furnaces, high efficiency hot-water heating systems, combustion and burner upgrades, fuel switching, heat recovery and steam traps, building shell or envelope improvements, fenestration improvements, building energy management systems, and process equipment upgrades.
Any other improvement approved by the County or the Clean Energy Loan Program Administrator as qualifying as an energy efficiency project or renewable energy project.
A clean energy loan may be used to pay for all costs incurred by a property owner in connection with the qualifying improvements, including the cost of the energy audit; feasibility studies and reports; project management, design, installation, and construction of the qualifying improvements; commissioning; energy savings or performance guaranty or insurance; building accreditation; closing costs of the clean energy loan; permitting fees; administrative fees; post-install evaluation, measurement and verification; and building accreditation.
Repayment of loans. A property owner participating in the Clean Energy Loan Program shall repay the clean energy loan through a surcharge on their real property tax bill. Upon receipt of written notice from the Clean Energy Loan Program Administrator of the execution of a clean energy loan financing agreement, the County shall, within 60 days from the date of the clean energy loan financing agreement, add the surcharge to the tax property bill. The surcharge shall constitute a first lien on the property from the date it becomes payable until the unpaid surcharge and interest and penalties on the surcharge are paid in full, regardless of a change in ownership, whether voluntary or involuntary. A person or entity that acquires property subject to a surcharge assumes the obligation to pay such surcharge. The County may assign the surcharge lien to the Clean Energy Loan Program Administrator.
Calculation. The surcharge for a clean energy loan shall include the clean energy loan obligation and any administrative costs incurred by the County which shall be the actual expenses incurred to administer the program.
Notice of levy and lien of surcharge. Upon receiving written notice from the Clean Energy Loan Program administrator of the execution of a clean energy loan financing agreement, the property owner shall execute a notice with Allegany County and the clean energy lender that will be recorded in the land records of Allegany County, at the expense of the property owner, and which shall include:
The date the clean energy loan was made to the property owner and the property became subject to the surcharge.
The term of the clean energy loan and over which the surcharge will apply to the property.
The clean energy loan obligation and estimated County administrative costs for the first year.
The annual principal and interest amount for each year of the term of the clean energy loan, including any partial year prorated amounts.
Prepayment requirements and any prepayment premium that may apply to a prepayable clean energy loan.
Notice that the clean energy loan obligations and the County's administrative costs will be repaid through a surcharge included on the owner's real property tax bill due and payable on the same date as the real property tax bill.
Notice that an unpaid clean energy loan surcharge constitutes a first lien on the property that has priority over prior or subsequent liens in favor of private parties and that the surcharge will continue as a lien on the property from the date it becomes payable until the unpaid surcharge and interest and penalties on the surcharge are paid in full, regardless of a change in ownership of the property, whether voluntary or involuntary.
Notice that if payments of surcharges are not timely paid, the surcharge will be collectible as a tax lien through the tax sale process authorized under the Tax-Property Article, Title 14, Subtitle 8, of the Annotated Code of Maryland and that an overdue surcharge will be so collected, irrespective of whether real property taxes (or any other taxes, charges, or assessments) are due and owing.
Default. In the event of default on the clean energy loan surcharge, the County shall be required to collect the lien pursuant to state law, irrespective of whether property taxes (or any other taxes, charges, or assessments) are due and owning. The County shall not incur any liability to the clean energy lender or others in the event of default.
Payment to clean energy lender. The County shall have no ownership of the surcharges collected, except for administrative costs provided under this article. The controller shall pay all surcharge payments in any calendar month to the applicable clean energy lender or the Clean Energy Loan Program Administrator within 30 days after the end of the month in which such amounts are collected. The County shall have no obligation to make payments to any clean energy lender with respect to any clean energy loan obligation other than that portion of surcharge actually collected from a property owner for the repayment of a clean energy loan. Payments received from a property owner shall be credited first to all County taxes, assessments, and charges.
Clean energy loans may be provided by any private lender, and a clean energy financing agreement may contain any terms agreed to by the clean energy lender and the property owner, as permitted by law, for the financing of clean energy loans. The County may not finance or fund any loan under the program and shall serve only as a program sponsor to facilitate loan repayment by including the surcharge on the County real property tax bill for the property and shall incur no liability for the loan.