NORWALK –– A shopping center at  542 Westport Avenue has become the first project in the state to receive financial assistance for energy-efficiency improvements from the Commercial & Industrial Property Assessed Clean Energy Program (C-PACE). Lighting upgrades to the plaza, owned by Margaret and Michael Sarno of Weston, cost $285,000 and are expected to reduce electricity costs by $17,500 a year. The Sarnos also may use C-PACE to finance a 100-kilowatt solar electric system.

Passed by the state legislature in 2012, C-PACE is aimed at commercial, industrial and multifamily property owners, who can finance qualifying energy-efficiency and renewable-energy improvements through a special assessment (lien) on their property tax bill, which is repaid over a period of up to 20 years. The owner obtains funding directly with a private capital provider.

Here’s a link to more details about the program: dsireusa.org/incentives/incentive.cfm?Incentive_Code=CT98F.