California’s Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing program starts accepting applications July 1

solar on multifamily affordable housing

California’s new Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing (SOMAH) program, the nation’s largest investment in low-income residential solar for tenants, will begin accepting applications on July 1, 2019. The SOMAH program provides property owners with financial incentives for installing solar PV systems on housing serving low-income and disadvantaged communities throughout the state. The program will deliver clean power and credit on energy bills to hundreds of thousands of California’s affordable housing residents.

“As we continue our transition to 100% clean energy, we have the opportunity to increase distributed energy opportunities for low-income customers to benefit on their bills as well as in their environment. SOMAH is an intentional program that will ensure this transition is directly benefiting California’s most disadvantaged,” said Commissioner Martha Guzman Aceves of the California Public Utilities Commission, which oversees the SOMAH program.

Prompted by California Assembly Bill 693, introduced by Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), the SOMAH program is funded for up to $100 million annually for 10 years from utility greenhouse gas allowance auction proceeds. Each solar project is required to provide direct economic benefits to tenants, allocating at least 51% of the clean energy produced to tenants in the form of virtual net energy metering credits, and provide job training opportunities for community members and tenants.

“The impacts of this program will go well beyond its contribution to our clean energy mix,” said Assemblymember Eggman. “It will leave more money in families’ pockets and make housing more affordable, provide growth opportunities for local solar businesses and create jobs. It’s a win for everyone.”

Currently, interested participants can access sample application forms and other resources, register for contractor and property owner webinars and sign up for job training opportunities on the CalSOMAH.org website. The site will begin accepting incentive applications on July 1.

— Solar Builder magazine

SunPower secures funding to bolster its residential solar lease business

sunpower logo

SunPower has secured financing commitments for its residential solar lease program (with Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital and SunStrong Capital Holdings) that will make its financing provisions “more attractive” and will supplement the solar loan and cash sale alternatives currently offered by the company. SunPower has provided solar lease financing options to customers since 2010.

The new fund is structured as a levered tax equity partnership with a multi-party forward purchase commitment, allowing generation of upfront cash margins for residential solar leases. The financing commitments for this new fund are being provided largely from a repeat group of loan and equity providers that continue to have strong long-term relationships with SunPower and Hannon Armstrong.

“SunPower’s strong suite of acquisition options, and our technologically superior solar energy solutions, allows us to continue meeting growing customer demand,” said Tom Werner, SunPower CEO and chairman of the board. “Thanks to our financing partners, who share our clean energy future goals, we’re able to ensure funding to meet the needs of those customers who desire a leasing option.”

Additionally, SunStrong has acquired a residential lease portfolio from Capital Dynamics. This transaction adds to SunStrong’s existing high-quality asset portfolio with the addition of more than 41 MW and 5,100 residential systems.

“This transaction reinforces SunStrong’s belief in the long-term value of owning high quality solar systems and SunPower’s commitment to providing on-going products and services to our customers,” said Werner.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch acted as the sole structuring and placement agent for the cash equity and multi-draw term loan, as well as the sole tax equity investor. Additional equity capital was provided by SunPower, Hannon Armstrong and their joint venture SunStrong, which holds equity interests in more than 55,000 residential solar energy systems.

Last year, SunPower’s U.S. residential business saw annual deployment growth of more than 15 percent, bringing the total number of American homes with SunPower solar to over 275,000 consumers.

— Solar Builder magazine

CleanCapital reports Tahoe is its largest C&I solar portfolio refinancing to date

CleanCapital

CleanCapital closed on a refinancing of its largest solar portfolio: Tahoe. The 46.9 megawatt portfolio, one of the largest independent C&I solar portfolios in the U.S., was acquired from ATN International, Inc. subsidiary Ahana Renewables. Lenders for the $85.7 million financing that matures in 2026 are Santander Bank, N.A. and CIT Bank, N.A.

CleanCapital has grown rapidly over the last year, acquiring more than 84 MW of distributed operating solar since April 2018. The Tahoe portfolio was acquired by CleanCapital last November as part of its partnership with BlackRock’s Renewable Power Group. The underwriting of the debt by Santander Bank and CIT signals confidence in CleanCapital’s track record of quality execution in C&I solar.

“As we continue to build up our assets under management and optimize the value of those portfolios, partnering with the top banks in the market gives us best-in-class execution,” said CleanCapital Chief Investment Officer Matt Eastwick. “We’re pleased to work with CIT and Santander Bank on this refinancing, which enhances investor returns on our largest and most diverse solar portfolio.”

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“Sustainability financing is a core competency at Santander Bank and we are thrilled to support CleanCapital and BlackRock in their clean energy endeavors” said Nuno Andrade, Managing Director and Head of Structured Finance for North America at Santander Bank, N.A.’s Corporate & Investment Banking Group. “We are proud to have structured the financing of this complex C&I solar portfolio to support our valued and strong partners.”

“CIT is proud to support the continued growth of CleanCapital in renewable energy with the successful refinancing of this major solar portfolio,” said Mike Lorusso, managing director and group head for CIT’s Power and Energy business.
About CleanCapital

CleanCapital is an industry-leading clean energy investment platform. Its mission is to accelerate investment in renewable energy to address the urgent threat of climate change. CleanCapital’s leading edge technology platform facilitates the evaluation and acquisition of clean energy assets with speed and certainty. Since 2015, CleanCapital has leveraged investments from BlackRock, CarVal Investors, John Hancock, and other partners to acquire more than $300 million of distributed operating solar assets.

— Solar Builder magazine

ACORE survey shows financial institutions have high confidence, interest in solar investments

solar investors positive

One year into its campaign to reach $1 trillion in U.S. private sector investment in renewable energy and enabling grid technologies by 2030, the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is releasing a progress report tracking U.S. renewable investment and assessing the policy and market pathways needed to achieve the $1T 2030: The American Renewable Investment Goal.

“Renewable energy remains one of the most attractive investment options in America today,” said Gregory Wetstone, ACORE’s President and CEO. “Over the long-term, however, the renewable sector is going to need predictable policy drivers, competitive power markets and a modernized grid to meet its potential and answer Americans’ growing calls for a clean energy economy.”

The new report also includes an updated survey of America’s leading financial institutions that reports high near-term confidence for renewable energy growth over the next three years and a strong appetite for increased investment. The report concludes with ACORE’s near-term strategic focus toward achievement of the $1T 2030 goal, which includes acceleration of energy storage deployment, modernization of power markets, and an expanded marketplace that includes a broader pool of investors and buyers.

Report findings

In 2018, the private sector invested more than $56.7 billion in U.S. renewable energy ($48 billion) and enabling grid technologies, including energy storage ($8.2 billion). Among the key findings of ACORE’s new survey gauging investor confidence in the U.S. renewable energy sector:

• Investors’ confidence in renewable energy sector growth over the next three years remains high, with an average confidence level of 77/100

• Renewable energy maintains its attractiveness compared with other asset classes in respondents’ portfolios

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• Most 2019 survey respondents indicated that the U.S. continues to be an attractive venue for investment compared with other leading countries

• More than one-third of survey respondents plan to increase their investments in U.S. renewables by more than 10% in 2019 compared to 2018; no respondents reported that they would decrease their investments by more than 5%

• Utility-scale solar and energy storage tied as the most attractive renewable energy investment options between 2019 and 2022, with onshore wind close behind

• Investors cited the low cost of renewable energy, expanded state renewable portfolio standards, increased demand from corporate end-users, the potential for new carbon legislation, and a rush to benefit from the tax credits before they sunset among their main reasons for optimism over the next three years

— Solar Builder magazine

ACORE survey shows financial institutions have high confidence, interest in solar investments

solar investors positive

One year into its campaign to reach $1 trillion in U.S. private sector investment in renewable energy and enabling grid technologies by 2030, the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is releasing a progress report tracking U.S. renewable investment and assessing the policy and market pathways needed to achieve the $1T 2030: The American Renewable Investment Goal.

“Renewable energy remains one of the most attractive investment options in America today,” said Gregory Wetstone, ACORE’s President and CEO. “Over the long-term, however, the renewable sector is going to need predictable policy drivers, competitive power markets and a modernized grid to meet its potential and answer Americans’ growing calls for a clean energy economy.”

The new report also includes an updated survey of America’s leading financial institutions that reports high near-term confidence for renewable energy growth over the next three years and a strong appetite for increased investment. The report concludes with ACORE’s near-term strategic focus toward achievement of the $1T 2030 goal, which includes acceleration of energy storage deployment, modernization of power markets, and an expanded marketplace that includes a broader pool of investors and buyers.

Report findings

In 2018, the private sector invested more than $56.7 billion in U.S. renewable energy ($48 billion) and enabling grid technologies, including energy storage ($8.2 billion). Among the key findings of ACORE’s new survey gauging investor confidence in the U.S. renewable energy sector:

• Investors’ confidence in renewable energy sector growth over the next three years remains high, with an average confidence level of 77/100

• Renewable energy maintains its attractiveness compared with other asset classes in respondents’ portfolios

Don’t miss our Solar Power International preview issue in September — subscribe to Solar Builder magazine (print or digital) for FREE today

• Most 2019 survey respondents indicated that the U.S. continues to be an attractive venue for investment compared with other leading countries

• More than one-third of survey respondents plan to increase their investments in U.S. renewables by more than 10% in 2019 compared to 2018; no respondents reported that they would decrease their investments by more than 5%

• Utility-scale solar and energy storage tied as the most attractive renewable energy investment options between 2019 and 2022, with onshore wind close behind

• Investors cited the low cost of renewable energy, expanded state renewable portfolio standards, increased demand from corporate end-users, the potential for new carbon legislation, and a rush to benefit from the tax credits before they sunset among their main reasons for optimism over the next three years

— Solar Builder magazine