ED101 Episode 2: BTUs and Energy Financing

ED101 Episode 2: BTUs and Energy Financing

Saint Paul Authority manages two energy saving finance programs (MinnPACE & TrillionBTU) that help businesses state-wide through a revolving loan fund and external funders. Both programs help commercial business owners make investments that significantly lower their energy usage with a finance option that in most cases is more than covered by the amount saved on utilities. Michael Linder (Loan Officer) of SPPA explains how the programs work and why BTUs are important.


The unit used by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) to measure how much energy is being consumed or generated.

54,000 BTUs can heat the avg. home for an hour (www.eia.gov)

How do MinnPACE & TrillionBTU financing help reduce energy emissions?

With the PACE financing that we’ve done, we have a revolving loan fund and external financers that we work with.  We’ve done 85 million dollars in projects, the annual energy savings is in the 15-20-million-dollar range and that’s just in Minnesota that we’ve saved that much energy.  And the TrillionBTU program, the whole purpose of that program is to reduce annual energies by a trillion BTU’s so we’re half way to that goal so we’ve reached 500 Billion BTU’s of energy that we’ve saved annually.

Do you have any specific examples?

So we’ve done numerous projects in the metro area for various manufacturing industrial projects.  Foundries over in Westside are a few of the bigger projects we’ve worked on.  We’ve worked on food distribution, on greenhouses, on replacing ventilation units in the greenhouses.  When it comes to manufacturing facilities there is a huge need for energy.  We do a lot of renewable energy, solar panels on the roofs, there’s a lot of roof space available so solar panels are definitely a big part of the financing that we do.  But with all these manufacturing facilities, LED lighting upgrades are a big one too, that saves a huge amount of energy for these businesses.

Why is MinnPACE a top financing option?

When you look at PACE financing we can do up to 10 years.  So, if we can place an assessment on their property taxes, and they repay the system over 10 years.  But the system itself was going to replace or repay itself in 5 or 8 years, you can see that they’re saving money on an annual basis.  When they look at what the upfront costs are, if we can finance 100% of that, there is no out of pocket money for them and they’re saving money instantly.