16 community solar projects across Massachusetts being financed by Key Equipment Finance

solar community program

Key Equipment Finance, one of the nation’s largest bank-held equipment finance companies and an affiliate of KeyCorp, is boosting financing for 16 community solar projects across Massachusetts for Clean Energy Collective (CEC), the nation’s leading community solar solutions provider, and ENGIE, a global energy developer focusing on responsible growth and the challenges of the energy transition to a low-carbon economy.

Using financing from Key Equipment Finance, CEC and ENGIE will own and operate the community solar projects and sell the energy to utilities, creating savings on electric bills for the commercial, municipal, nonprofit and residential customers. The combined CEC and ENGIE projects are adding 22.1 megawatts of clean capacity, which is equivalent to fully offsetting energy for 3,700 residential homes.

“ENGIE and CEC are industry leaders using Key Equipment Finance’s financing solutions to bring a broad expansion of community solar to customers across Massachusetts,” said Luis Gutierrez, vice president of energy finance for Key Equipment Finance’s Energy Solutions team, which provides leases tailored to the energy market. “Customized financing plays a vital role in bringing the benefits of community solar to more customers, which contributes to Key’s broader sustainability goals.”

Community Solar Legal Primer: From project structure to consumer protection

Project details

The 16 community solar projects in Massachusetts are constructed and interconnected and will serve customers in the Eversource and National Grid utility territories. They include solar arrays in the towns of Sutton, Williamsburg, Orange, Goshen, Phillipston, Uxbridge, West Bridgewater, Kingston, North Adams, Clarksburg, and Wareham.

The economic benefits of these projects will be seen for years to come – including decades of property tax payments in each of the project towns, millions of dollars of construction investment through utilizing local electricians and other contracted specialists to maintain the arrays and the long-term savings, which area businesses and residential customers will receive throughout the duration of the community solar program.

“Key Equipment Finance’s partnership has allowed CEC to bring its RooflessSolar™ community solar options to more Massachusetts customers, giving them greater choice in how they meet their power needs,” said Tom Sweeney, CEC’s president of renewables. “Funding community solar projects can be a very complicated and capital-intensive process, and we are proud to be collaborating with Key Equipment Finance and ENGIE to ‘uncomplicate’ clean energy access and sustain the growing energy movement in Massachusetts.”

The 25-year lifespan of the systems will produce solar energy output equivalent to reducing 1 billion pounds of carbon dioxide, planting 1.5 million trees or eliminating 1.1 billion miles of driving.

— Solar Builder magazine

Solar market uncertainty: Funding activity down in Q1 2017

Mercom Capital Group LLC, a global clean energy communications and consulting firm, released its report on funding and merger and acquisition (M&A) activity for the solar sector in the second quarter of 2017 and first half of 2017.

Total corporate funding (including venture capital funding, public market and debt financing) in the first half (1H) of 2017 was slightly up compared to the same period in 2016 with about $4.6 billion raised compared to the $4.5 billion raised in 1H 2016. There were 97 deals in 1H 2017 compared to the 79 deals in 1H 2016.

Solar_Corporate_Funding_1H_2013-1H_2017

Corporate funding in the solar sector fell in Q2 with $1.4 billion raised in 37 deals compared to the $3.2 billion raised in 60 deals in Q1 2017. Year-over-year (YoY) funding in Q2 2017 was about 17 percent lower compared to the $1.7 billion raised in Q2 2016.

“There is a great deal of uncertainty in the solar markets right now, which is reflected in funding activity. However, solar public companies, especially on the U.S. stock markets, have done well this year. A lot is riding on how the Suniva anti-dumping case plays out as it will dictate market dynamics going forward,” commented Raj Prabhu, CEO of Mercom Capital Group.

Global VC funding (venture capital, private equity, and corporate venture capital) for the solar sector in 1H 2017 was 23 percent higher with $713 million compared to the $579 million raised in 1H 2016, largely due to a strong first quarter in 2017.

Solar_VC_Funding_1H_2013-1H_2017

In Q2 2017, VC funding for the solar sector saw a steep decline with $128 million in 23 deals compared to $585 million in 22 deals in Q1 2017. Most of the VC funding in Q2 2017 went to solar downstream companies (72 percent); $92 million was raised in 15 deals.

Top VC deals in 1H 2017 included the $200 million raised by ReNew Power Ventures followed by the $155 million raised by Greenko Energy Holdings, the $125 million secured by Hero Future Energies, Silicon Ranch’s $55 million, $25 million raise by Siva Power and the $25 million raise by Spruce Finance. A total of 55 investors participated in solar funding in 1H 2017.

Solar public market funding was much higher in 1H 2017 compared to the first half of 2016 with $934 million raised compared to $276 million in 1H 2016. Public market financing was slightly up in Q2 2017 with $473 million raised in six deals compared to the $461 million in 13 deals in Q1 2017.

Here was New York’s pro-renewables response after Trump pulled out of Paris Agreement

Announced debt financing in 1H 2017 came to $3 billion compared to $3.7 billion in 1H 2016. In Q2 2017, announced debt financing fell to $798 million in eight deals compared to $2.2 billion in 25 deals in Q1 2017. There was one securitization deal in Q2 2017 by Sunnova which raised $255 million.

Announced large-scale project funding in 1H 2017 came to $7.4 billion in 81 projects. In Q2 2017, announced large-scale project funding came in at $4.8 billion in 48 deals.

Solar_Top_5_Announced_Large-Scale_Projects_Funded_By_Dollar_Amount_in_Q2_2017

Announced residential and commercial solar funds totaled $1.8 billion in 1H 2017 compared to $2.3 billion in the same period of 2016.

In 1H 2017 there were a total of 40 M&A transactions, compared to 30 in the same period of 2016. There were 11 solar M&A transactions in Q2 2017 compared to 29 solar M&A transactions in Q1 2017 and 16 transactions in Q2 2016. Of the 11 total transactions in Q2, eight involved solar downstream companies, two involved PV manufacturers, and one transaction was by a BOS company.

There were 100 large-scale project acquisitions in 1H 2017 totaling 10.6 MW, compared to 90 project acquisitions totaling 4.5 GW in the first half of 2016.

Solar_Top_5_Project_Acquisitions_by_Megawatts_in_Q2_2017(1)

Investment firms and funds were the most active acquirers in 1H 2017, picking up 37 projects totaling 4.2 GW, followed by project developers with 17 transactions for 4.6 GW.
Mercom tracked 206 new large-scale project announcements worldwide in Q2 2017 totaling 11.1 GW.

— Solar Builder magazine

Spruce Finance sells $250 million solar loan portfolio

Spruce finance solar loans

Spruce Finance, a provider of consumer financing for residential energy efficiency and solar technology, completed a whole loan sale of $250 million of its efficiency and solar loan portfolio to a large North American bank with expertise in consumer loan assets. This marks the second major sale of loan assets for the company.

“We’re pleased about institutional investors’ growing confidence in the lending market for renewable and energy efficient home technologies. These loans, with terms of 7 to 20 years, allow for financing that better matches the useful life of the asset, creating much better value for the consumer. The capital unlocked from this transaction, combined with incremental capital recently provided by a global investment firm, will support the future growth of our business,” said Steve Olszewski, Spruce’s chief operating officer.

The company expects the sale to serve as a foundation for future loan flow sales transactions.

Financing beyond FICO: Using asset-backed loans, PACE to get solar deals done

More about Spruce

Spruce provides homeowners with multiple ways to finance residential energy efficiency improvements and solar systems. This helps people reduce their utility bills and improve their homes and communities. We make our finance products available on a single software platform and sell them through a national network of verified channel partners. Our platform simplifies the sales experience for our channel partners and helps them sustainably grow their businesses. A private company headquartered in San Francisco, we operate in all 50 states and Washington, DC. We have raised more than $2B in project finance and currently serve nearly 70,000 homeowners.

— Solar Builder magazine

SolRiver Capital launches platform to streamline solar project development

solar project development

Colorado-based solar investment fund SolRiver Capital launched a free Solar Developer Platform — a tool meant to help solar developers locate funding to efficiently close investments with SolRiver. The platform offers online solar finance models to price investments and a guided approval process. It also has tools to help set up future projects, such as the PPA Rate Finder and Solar Finance Contract Library.

“We wanted to make it as easy and efficient as possible for developers and installers to close solar project investments with SolRiver,” said Brandon Conard, Managing Partner of SolRiver Capital. In particular, the Platform features the Project Optimizer and SolRiver’s Guided Evaluation Process to put projects on the fast track to financing.

Project Optimizer

SolRiver’s Project Optimizer provides developers direct access to SolRiver Capital’s financial model. Developers can fine tune over 110 different project parameters to understand exactly how SolRiver prices investments. The Optimizer allows developers to run scenarios, so they can see how a change to a project would affect the price SolRiver would offer. It even provides recommendations on how to change project terms to maximize what they get paid.

Guided Approval

The Guided Solar Project Diligence Process tells developers from the beginning what SolRiver’s approval requires. “It lists the documents SolRiver asks for. It also explains what we’re looking for in each document,” Mr. Conard explained. “We want developers to know what they need to do from day one. We think the process goes a lot faster when everyone knows what’s around the next corner, and the reason why,” said Conard.

Special Report: How to Make Money in the Midwest

SolRiver’s Platform also gives solar installers and developers the tools needed to propose bankable projects with confidence, including the Rate Finder and the Contract Library.

PPA Rate Finder Calculator

Mr. Conard’s favorite tool is the PPA Rate Finder because “Developers frequently ask us what the PPA Rate needs to be in order to hit an EPC price of $X. The PPA Rate Finder gives them the model to answer that question.” To use the Rate Finder, developers enter basic information about a project along with a desired purchase price. From there, the Rate Finder combines the developer’s inputs with SolRiver’s financial model. The result is the PPA rate that SolRiver needs to see in order to pay the developer’s target purchase price.

Sample Solar Contracts

SolRiver has also built a Solar Contract Library. It has forms for many common solar agreements, including PPAs, O&M agreements, Site Leases, and EPC Agreements. SolRiver hopes these contracts will help developers put together deals that will flow smoothly through SolRiver’s investment approval process.

— Solar Builder magazine

GameChange Solar expands capital program, $2 billion now available to fund U.S. solar projects

GameChange Solar has expanded its capital introduction program to fund solar projects across the United States to over $2 billion in available capital. The program is primarily in concert with five leading funding sources, two of which are large utility backed power generation companies and the other three of which are leading IPPs.

GameChange introduces projects that are being developed to the funding sources, enabling more projects to be financed and built. Recent introductions have yielded several marriages that have resulted in utility scale solar projects being built with financing received by developers.

Inside the new, improved decentralized tracker from GameChange Solar

If you have a project that needs financing to build which is anywhere from early stage to shovel ready, or if you are a funding source looking for projects to finance and/or buy, please reach out to your business development representative at GameChange for more information on this program.

Andrew Worden, CEO of GameChange Solar, stated: “There are many projects that are looking for the capital to build them. With my previous background in finance and project development, we have the understanding of how projects are financed and the needs of both developers and financiers. We are able to see the correct fits between projects and capital and make the appropriate introductions. Our goal is to help facilitate more solar power plants to be built which furthers our mission of repowering this planet with cost effective, clean and renewable solar energy.”

— Solar Builder magazine