Nautilus Solar acquires community solar portfolio from Clean Energy Collective

Nautilus Solar

Nautilus Solar Energy LLC, has acquired a 13.5 MWdc community solar portfolio from Clean Energy Collective (CEC), the nation’s leading developer of community solar solutions.

This community solar portfolio is made up of projects in Massachusetts, where the offtake is with qualified commercial subscribers, and New York, where the offtake is with 100% qualified residential subscribers. The projects have begun construction, with some projects near completion, and all of the projects are expected to be online by the end of 2018.

“In addition to furthering our goal of deploying early-stage development capital for our partners, this transaction marks our entry into New York’s rapidly expanding community solar marketplace,” added Jeffrey Cheng, COO of Nautilus Solar.

RELATED: Crowd Sourced: Details on a plan for drastic cost reductions, wide deployment of community-scale solar

Similar to previous transactions between the companies, CEC provided customer acquisition, project development and construction management services. Nautilus, through its full-service platform, provided early-stage development capital and will be responsible for long-term asset management services and maintenance for the project. The projects will be owned by an affiliate of the Virgo Investment Group, which is also a minority shareholder of Nautilus.

The energy generated by the multisite portfolio directly benefits subscribers by providing energy bill savings while also advancing their renewable energy goals. Most importantly, the subscriber experience will benefit from Nautilus’s expertise in community solar acquisition and asset management, combined with CEC’s ability to deliver quality customer service along with real-time production and savings information.

— Solar Builder magazine

Clean Energy Collective RooflessSolar program now up and running in New York

Clean Energy Collective

Clean Energy Collective (CEC), North America’s leading community solar developer and solutions provider, is now accepting reservations in New York for its popular RooflessSolar program. One of the most highly sought-after programs in the state, RooflessSolar provides qualified Orange & Rockland and Central Hudson residential electricity customers guaranteed, risk-free savings with no upfront cost or recurring fees – plus the proven local economic and environmental benefits community-shared solar delivers.

How it works

CEC’s RooflessSolar program, now active in 15 states, enables anyone with an electric bill – particularly homeowners lacking a suitable roof, those who rent, or live in a multi-unit building – a way to lower their monthly electric bill, protect against rising electricity costs, help reduce CO2 emissions, and lower the nation’s dependence on fossil fuels. Participants earn a guaranteed savings of $0.01 for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of energy, regardless of whether they are working with an alternative energy provider. For the typical household, this means saving about $100 each year, or about one-month’s utility bill every year – guaranteed for the life of the program.

RELATED: 10 predictions for community solar in 2018 via Clean Energy Collective 

Qualifying residential electricity customers in Orange & Rockland and Central Hudson service areas can enroll in a RooflessSolar plan, customized to their electricity use, through CEC’s easy e-commerce portal (ny.rooflesssolar.com). Participants can also view their energy production, energy credits, and environmental offsets in real time through a dedicated online app at MyOwnCleanEnergy.com.

New York opened the door to community shared solar as part of its Reforming the Energy Vision initiative to build a cleaner, more resilient, more affordable energy infrastructure. CEC’s New York portfolio includes 22 medium-scale, strategically sited solar facilities that are built with leading-edge technology and are professionally maintained to ensure maximum production and consumer benefit. Host communities also benefit through significant construction investment, high-value jobs, lease payments to land owners, local tax revenues, and developer-funded utility system upgrades.

— Solar Builder magazine

IHS Markit names Clean Energy Collective a ‘Pioneer’ for its community solar platform

Clean Energy collective

IHS Markit named Clean Energy Collective (CEC), one of the leading community solar developers, as an Energy Innovation Pioneer for its role developing strategies and technologies that are transforming the electricity energy future. CEC was selected from a field of more than 500 companies making noteworthy innovations throughout the energy spectrum. IHS Markit selected CEC for its unique Community Solar Platform technology and service solutions enabling cost-effective community solar program design, integration, and management. CEC is being recognized at the IHS Markit CERAWeek executive conference in Houston this week.

CEC’s community solar model, and the proprietary Community Solar Platform, provides a path to solar for the 75% of U.S. households and businesses where on-site/rooftop solar is either not possible or not practical. It opens the market for locally generated clean power to any participating utility customer, a market 7x the size of rooftop solar, setting the stage for exponential growth in consumer and commercial access to affordable renewable energy.

RMI report shows path for a 30-GW community solar market by 2020

CEC has built or has under development approximately 175 community solar projects with 33 utility partners across 15 states, serving thousands of customers, and representing more than 310 MW of distributed renewable capacity.

“Technological innovation is the indispensable constant across the energy spectrum. These creative and dedicated problem-solvers represent a driving force that is shaping the new energy future,” Daniel Yergin, IHS Markit vice chairman and CERAWeek conference chair, said of Energy Innovation Pioneer honorees.

The Energy Innovation Pioneers program is held annually in conjunction with IHS CERAWeek, the premier international gathering of energy industry leaders, experts, government officials, financial communities, technology innovators and policy makers. Criteria for selecting Energy Innovation Pioneers includes the company’s creativity, business plan feasibility, scalability of technology, and the leadership team.

— Solar Builder magazine

10 predictions for community solar in 2018 via Clean Energy Collective

Clean Energy collective

From an evolving market structure to technology innovation, the community solar landscape is transforming quickly. What does this mean for 2018? Clean Energy Collective (CEC), the nation’s leading community solar developer and solutions provider, forecast what is on the horizon for community solar. CEC’s experts offer the following 10 predictions for 2018.

“We are inspired by the surging demand for renewables and the expectation that community solar will play a leading role in solar’s growth for years to come” said Paul Spencer, CEC Founder and CEO.

1. Strategic partnerships will accelerate the drive to scale.

2017 saw solar financiers and asset owners looking to become more involved in the earlier stages of community solar development, seeking the potential for stronger profits indicative of this asset class; evidenced by CEC’s joint development agreement with ENGIE. Leveraging shared financial and technological resources will accelerate the development and deployment of more and larger community solar portfolios in 2018, broadening access to shared renewables to a significantly wider customer base.

2. External factors will intensify the focus on cost-effectiveness.

Equipment costs are continuing to fall, but declines are slowing. Rising interest rates, rising interconnection costs, potential import tariffs, and potential changes to the federal tax code will provoke an even greater focus across the solar industry on optimizing program design, integration, and management to maintain community solar’s pace of growth. (See #4 regarding technology.)

3. Commercial and industrial customers will take a larger share of capacity.

Solar procurement by commercial and industrial customers grew substantially in 2017 as more businesses looked to renewable energy for cost savings and to boost their sustainability credentials. One of the most critical strategic initiatives for utilities is allowing key C&I customers to procure renewable energy from a dedicated offsite facility/program via community solar. Like residential customers, shared off-site generation expands the accessibility of renewables purchases beyond the Fortune 100 to medium and small companies that lack the resources for separate project development. In 2018, community solar will take a lead role in providing commercial and industrial companies with a path to renewable energy.

Nexamp community solar

Nexamp community solar project.

4. Demand for technology will increase from both asset developers and owners.

2017 saw effective progress toward reducing the complexities of community solar programming by standardizing policies, procedures, and technologies where possible. Enterprise-level software opened the gates to greater efficiency and accuracy throughout the proposal, e-commerce, and customer engagement processes. For 2018, the integration of multi-megawatt projects and portfolios means integrating with significantly more utilities and engaging an exponentially larger number of customers. The biggest winners in 2018 will be IT solutions that seamlessly manage customer acquisition, credit allocation, and collections with lower costs and less risk through automation, not only for single community solar programs but for entire energy portfolios. CEC is investing significantly in advancing its Community Solar Platform and IT architecture to continue to shape and serve the next-generation of community solar programs and community solar customers.

5. Data security will be a key value proposition.

As the shift to mobile and cloud technologies becomes the norm in most industries, data vulnerability is top-of-mind for all IT administrators. Data security processes and planning for community solar programming, particularly regarding the requisite software administering bill credits and customer benefits, is vital for the protection of utilities, consumers, and the grid. 2018 will see an increased focus on available and emerging technologies delivering information security to meet the industry’s rigorous requirements. Security certification of community solar software solutions will quickly become the norm, raising the bar in solution maturity similar to financial technology solutions.

6. Project finance and product strategies will move closer to balance.

Expanding project financing options and sources is still at odds with the move toward more consumer-centric products. Both purchase and subscription programs have been subject to relatively strict terms from finance partners, limiting flexibility in product strategy. We believe 2018 will be turning point toward more adaptable financing as additional risk mitigations emerge and the finance market better understands the reduced risks inherent in community solar solutions. New technologies for acquiring and engaging customers, increasing participation by investment-grade companies, and further validation of community solar’s low customer default and streamlined ability to re-subscribe replacement customers will allow for shorter contract terms, reduced credit score thresholds, and an overall enhanced customer buying experience.

7. Big capital will move into the market.

The underlying variables of community solar programming – like multiple customer profiles, unique technology requirements, and maintaining full subscribership – has been thorny for capital markets. However, in 2017 we saw a slow but measured migration from boutique investors to the more mainstream financial community. Bigger financial players are becoming more familiar and comfortable with community solar’s long, optimized assets and predictable cash flows, and are now turning their focus to addressing the mechanisms for market development. 2018 is the year large institutional investors will move in, positioning community solar as the next place to put low-risk capital at scale.

8. Utilities will launch larger programs more frequently.

Many utilities blazed the community solar trail in 2016 and 2017 to integrate DER solutions and satisfy customers. Several of the U.S.’ largest utilities now have operational community solar programs, and dozens more have initiated programs — in regulated and deregulated markets, by investor-owned, cooperative, and municipal utilities. Such pervasive exposure has provided sufficient evidence for the best practices that allow for low-risk, cost-appropriate, and highly engaged community solar programs. In 2018, we expect less “piloting” by first-time utilities and more comprehensive, full-scale deployments by those currently testing programs. This move to scale will provide further economic efficiencies, driving even more benefit to utilities and customers.

9. Prevailing policy will accelerate market development.

Advanced tools and resources are emerging to help policymakers, regulators, and advocates navigate tariff and compensation strategies, incentives, land use and siting criteria, interconnection issues, consumer protections, and more to balance a market’s diverse interests and a program’s economic viability. In 2018, state policy development will take on a renewed urgency, and we expect to see community solar raised as a key platform item in state and federal elections in November. Streamlining adoption of well-vetted enabling policies and regulatory frameworks in slower-to-adopt states will translate into faster legislative action, fewer pilot programs, and more receptive markets.

10. Uncertainty at the federal level will temper enthusiasm.

Despite all the positive indicators, unknown risks at the federal level could pose new challenges for the industry in 2018. Complications from a possible ITC tariff, the federal tax overhaul, continued anxiety with EPA policy direction, and the DOE’s renewed interest in coal are ingraining a degree of uncertainty that is difficult to quantify. On the positive side, the solar industry is gaining momentum through increasing numbers of legislators and government officials across the country supporting community solar thanks to a well-informed base of industry advocates. This advocacy is fueled by solar industry associations, executives, employees, customers and enthusiasts, and in 2018 we will see an even stronger and louder coalescence of stakeholders with an amplified grass roots movement that will more deeply engage with elected officials and regulators. Equally important, rapidly declining solar costs are allowing solar to become a much larger part of the national energy mix simply due to its recent status as a low-cost power solution. This fact has increased utility support for many pro-solar initiatives.

— Solar Builder magazine

Three community solar projects break ground in Massachusetts

Clean Energy collective

Clean Energy Collective (CEC), the nation’s leading community solar developer and solutions provider, has broken ground on three new community solar facilities in Massachusetts, adding a combined 4 MW of new generation to the Commonwealth’s mounting shared renewables portfolio. Located in the communities of Millis, Rochester, and Wendell, the projects will serve customers in National Grid and Eversource service territories and are expected to complete construction by March 2018.

Clean Energy Collective, one of the region’s largest community solar providers, has developed 34 projects – nearly 50 MW of capacity – in Massachusetts, as the company continues its mission to deliver broad and equal access to locally-generated, affordable, clean energy to all electricity ratepayers across the Commonwealth.

“Community shared solar is proving to be the clean energy solution Massachusetts customers are looking for, and CEC is continuing to deliver projects that provide this choice,” said Tom Sweeney, CEC’s President of Renewables. “We look forward to serving even more Massachusetts customers and remain diligent in our mission to ensure every household and business in the Commonwealth has access to local clean energy.”

Through CEC’s RooflessSolar program, any Massachusetts electric customer – including residential, commercial and government customers – can secure long-term energy savings and hedge against increasing energy costs without the need for a solar-suitable roof or upfront investment.

New guide shows strategies for pairing community solar with storage

Developing these projects also delivers broad benefits to the host communities through significant construction investment, a variety of high-paying jobs, lease payments for land owners, substantial tax revenues, and valuable utility system upgrades.

In addition to the growing portfolio of completed projects, CEC has several additional projects in the development pipeline to serve the state’s increasing demand. CEC expects to begin construction on several of these before the end of 2017.

Demand for community solar is growing throughout the country as well. CEC has built or has under development more than 130 RooflessSolar projects within 33 utility service territories across 15 states, serving thousands of customers, and representing more than 350 MW of community solar capacity.

— Solar Builder magazine