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CleanFund Provides Largest Ever Commercial Property PACE Financing to Pacific Ethanol for 5 Megawatt Solar Energy System at Industrial Facility

  • CleanFund finances $10-million renewable energy improvement, which will deliver more than $1 million in annual operating cost savings to Pacific Ethanol
  • High performance solar energy system to be designed and installed by Borrego Solar Systems under California’s Net Metering 2.0 rules that allow offset of greater energy usage than previously available

SAN FRANCISCO and SACRAMENTO, Calif. (September 26, 2016) — Pacific Ethanol, Inc. (NASDAQ:PEIX), a leading producer and marketer of low-carbon renewable fuels in the United States, is purchasing and installing a new 5 megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic (PV) power system at its Madera, California biorefinery that produces ethanol, wet distiller grains and corn oil.

$10-million of the project cost is being financed by CleanFund, the leading provider of long-term financing for energy efficiency, renewable energy, water conservation and seismic improvements specifically for commercial, industrial, multifamily and other non-residential properties across the U.S.

CleanFund ( provides capital for projects using Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE), a financing framework adopted in 33 states and the District of Columbia that allows property owners to repay investments for building upgrades and new construction on their property tax bills. The Pacific Ethanol financing is the largest commercial PACE transaction in the U.S. to date. The improvement also represents the largest solar PV system (based on power generating capacity) to be funded through a PACE program.

“The integration of solar power at our Madera plant underscores our commitment to optimize our plant assets, lower the carbon intensity of our ethanol and reduce our operating costs,” says Neil Koehler, president and CEO of Pacific Ethanol. “We are proud to build the first ever commercial solar electricity system at a U.S. ethanol plant. Pending the completion of interconnection agreements with our local utility, Pacific Gas & Electric Co., we expect to begin operating the solar PV system at full capacity in early 2018.”

Greg Saunders, CEO of CleanFund, adds, “We are honored that Pacific Ethanol selected CleanFund as its capital provider, and is utilizing our SolarPACE™ financing to install a state-of-the-art solar system on their amazing biorefinery. The demand for commercial PACE financing continues to grow rapidly because it provides cost-effective, long-term financing for renewable energy, energy efficiency and water conservation measures for most non-residential properties. We are excited to partner with Pacific Ethanol as it leads the way in the deployment of renewable energy power systems at its industrial facilities.”


More About the Pacific Ethanol Facility and the Solar PV System to Be Deployed

The solar plant will be located adjacent to the Pacific Ethanol industrial facility situated on 137 acres in Madera County, California. The 5 MW solar PV system is expected to reduce the Madera facility’s annual utility costs by over $1 million and will be cash flow positive from year one. The system also qualifies for the Energy Investment Tax Credit, further improving its attractive investment profile.

The system will be designed and installed by Borrego Solar, ranked as one of the top providers of commercial distributed generation solar energy systems in the U.S.

“Pacific Ethanol represents the new generation of fuel companies — low carbon fuel production powered by zero carbon energy,” says Mike Hall, CEO of Borrego Solar. “This will be one of the largest single-site net metered projects in PG&E territory. Historically these types of projects were limited to a single megawatt, but given the recent CPUC NEM 2.0 ruling, large energy users are now able to go above that threshold and offset a significantly larger portion of their overall usage. In addition, by financing this project through PACE, Pacific Ethanol is able to retain full ownership of the system from day one and capture the tax incentives afforded to solar system owners.”


More About CleanFund’s New SolarPACE™ Program

CleanFund’s SolarPACE program enables commercial, industrial, other non-residential property owners and multifamily property owners to achieve immediate positive cash flow, with a financing term of up to 30 years to match the expected life of solar PV systems.

SolarPACE financing helps property owners save significant amounts of money — whether or not the owners have the ability to adequately utilize all available tax benefits. This is because CleanFund’s SolarPACE program finances solar systems on a direct-ownership basis, as well as indirect ownership utilizing a power purchase agreement. When a property is sold, SolarPACE financing and the future cash flow benefits transfer to the new property owner. In multi-tenant properties, both owners and tenants can share in the costs and benefits of solar energy using SolarPACE, which is normally not possible with self-financing or bank financing.


About CleanFund Commercial PACE Capital

CleanFund Commercial PACE Capital is the #1 direct provider of long-term financing for energy efficiency, water conservation, renewable energy and seismic improvements to commercial, multifamily and other non-residential properties in the U.S.

With significant expertise in commercial real estate, finance, renewable energy and PACE policy, CleanFund is a direct provider of capital for Property Assessed Clean Energy, a financing structure adopted in 33 states and the District of Columbia that allows property owners to repay investments for building upgrades and new construction on their property tax bills.

CleanFund has the largest dedicated commercial PACE team in the industry. The company’s PACEDirect™ financing program enables property owners to install modern energy and water technology with no up-front cost, increasing property cash flows and value. For more information, please visit


Media contacts for more information

Cary Brazeman,, 310-205-3590

Victoria Ozols,, 714-225-9043

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