Dividend Finance adds Solaria PowerXT solar modules to platform


Solaria’s PowerXT modules have been added to Dividend Finance’s solar financing platform. Solaria’s flagship rooftop product, the PowerXT, is a high value, aesthetic and extremely high energy yield solar module. Ideal for space-constrained roofs, Solaria’s sleek high output modules feature a black backsheet and attractive, uniform appearance.

“Dividend Finance is an accomplished industry leader that’s accelerated the maturation of residential solar loans,” said Solaria CEO Suvi Sharma.“We’re very excited that Dividend is incorporating Solaria PowerXT into its financing platform. This new agreement pairs two innovators in the solar industry. The availability of Solaria products through Dividend’s financing program underscores that PowerXT is an industry leading module. This new relationship empowers homeowners to transform their properties into aesthetic on-site power plants. Pairing Dividend’s financing expertise with Solaria’s industry-leading modules provides best in class value for homeowners keen to deploy solar energy.”

RELATED: How solar installers can build business through third-party programs

The propriety PowerXT technology platform uses Solaria’s advanced cell interconnect and module production processes, significantly boosting power generation and providing outstanding performance. High energy yield PowerXT modules ensure that solar installers maximize power deployment on customer roofs – enabling them to install attractive, cost-effective on-site power plants that accelerate payback period and profitability.

— Solar Builder magazine

7X Energy to construct its largest SolarBlocks project to date


7X Energy finalized an energy contract with CoServ Electric and Brazos Electric Power Cooperative for the sale of solar energy from the Lapetus Energy Project. The 35 MW solar project, owned and developed by 7X Energy, will be constructed in Andrews County, Texas, and is scheduled to commence operations in 2019.

Solar energy from the Lapetus facility will be sold in SolarBlocks under a multi-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). SolarBlocks is a power block purchasing strategy developed by 7X, with the support of the Lapetus buyers, that enables customers to procure contractually guaranteed fixed blocks of energy produced from solar plants. The fixed blocks of solar, which can be forecasted down to the 15-minute settlement interval, lock in low energy rates during peak periods when electricity can be most expensive and remove the intermittent variability of delivered energy associated with traditional solar generation. SolarBlocks can be purchased by electric cooperatives, utilities and corporations in competitive retail electricity markets.

“The 7X team is working tirelessly to package and deliver reliable clean energy in a way that our customers are accustomed to when purchasing traditional energy,” said Clay Butler, CEO of 7X Energy. “For too long our industry has been trying to squeeze a square peg into a round hole, and we aim to change that by making renewable energy procurement easier for buyers.”

RELATED: Texas to improve its Smart Meter Texas portal, making it easier to access distributed generation

Brazos Electric will be purchasing the energy on behalf of CoServ Electric for the benefit of CoServ’s roughly 220,000 electric meters in North Texas. This agreement represents the largest solar energy contract to date with an electric cooperative in Texas and was made possible by the low competitive cost of 7X Energy’s solar power in ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas).

“We want to provide renewable energy solutions for our Members,” said CoServ President/CEO Donnie Clary. “This project helps enhance our role as a trusted energy advisor, focused on the future and passing along the resulting economic benefits.”

Brazos Electric signed onto the contract as the generation and transmission provider for CoServ, facilitating the transaction among Brazos Electric, CoServ and 7X. Brazos, the oldest and largest generation and transmission cooperative in Texas, worked diligently with CoServ and the 7X team to customize the right energy solution, including the fixed delivery of power for CoServ, its distribution co-op member.


— Solar Builder magazine

Safari Energy awards solar portfolio maintenance contract to SunSystem Technology

Safari energy

Safari Energy has awarded solar PV services provider SunSystem Technology with its preventive maintenance portfolio — a three-year contract to conduct system inspections, testing and maintenance. The work spans more than 130 projects totaling over 80 megawatts (MW) of solar power generation capacity in 18 states from Massachusetts to Hawaii.

“Safari Energy is committed to delivering optimal returns for our large real estate portfolio clients, and this agreement with SunSystem Technology will further streamline our process and enhance solar power generation, ultimately increasing financial performance for our clients,” said Matt Rudey, Chief Executive Office, Safari Energy. “We will continue to seek out high-quality partners who deliver market-leading services, fulfilling our sophisticated approach to investing.”

RELATED: How to optimize performance and profit through O&M monitoring

Preventive maintenance of solar power systems is an important investment to avoid costly repairs, extend system lifetime and increase system uptime. It is estimated that a well-maintained system will perform 10-30% better than one that is not, potentially leading to millions of dollars in savings across large real estate portfolio. To date, as a result of careful maintenance and expert execution, Safari Energy’s more than 250-project fleet has performed at 104% of its proforma on a weather-adjusted basis.

As large real estate portfolio owners increasingly look to reduce costs and increase efficiencies, technology and innovation also play an important role in ensuring financial returns are optimized. In order to maintain Safari Energy’s commercial solar power systems, SunSystem Technology will deploy cutting edge tools, using drones, artificial intelligence and aerial thermography to assess system performance and identify areas to address.

— Solar Builder magazine

Solar ownership passed leasing in 2017: Here are three reasons why

solar loans and leases

Ownership officially surpassed the solar lease as the preferred financial vehicle of homeowners in the United States, according to the U.S. Residential Solar Finance Update, H1 2018, from GTM Research. This trendline started to emerge in 2015, got close in 2016 and officially tipped in 2017, with 59 percent of home solar installs being purchased with cash or loans.

Why did this happen?

1. Widespread availability of loan products. We dove into the abundance of financial vehicles in our March/April cover story. Among those providers, Mosaic has claimed the No. 1 residential financier spot in 2017, just edging out Sunrun, with 14 percent market share. GTM attributes this to its supply of solar loans to Tesla, as well as its work with more than 150 other leading solar installers.

Sunlight Financial has also grown significantly in 2017, thanks in large part to its relationship with a few large installers, while Dividend Solar has experienced growth due to its ability to work with relatively small and nascent installers.

The outlook from here shows the gap widening, but GTM does caution about the effect of an increasingly overcompetitive lending space. “This intense competition has led to uber-competitive rates and therefore compressed margins, leaving questions about the financial health and long-term viability of many of these loan providers,” the company notes. “While some lenders are primarily focused on growth and market share, others are scaling back growth expectations in order to pursue more profitable sales.”

2. A shortage of third-party ownership (TPO) suppliers. As noted, this was the general trend, but the flip happened sooner rather than later after Tesla and Vivint made deliberate moves away from TPO. Sunrun surpassed Tesla as the No. 1 TPO provider in 2017 with 32 percent market share of the TPO market, compared to 23 percent for Tesla and 16 percent for Vivint Solar. The shift to loans hasn’t been easy for either Vivint or SolarCity (although 54 percent of its sales in Q4 were customer-owned), while Sunrun hasn’t missed a beat as both a vertically integrated installer and a financier supplying the long tail. Others at the top simply exited altogether.

RELATED:  Florida votes to allow Sunrun solar system leases

The share of TPO in the market is expected to drop to 33 percent by 2023 as growth expectations for the long tail of installers exceed those of top TPO providers. GTM says this TPO percentage is higher than previously forecasted as new information suggests a rebound in volume for major TPO providers, as well as the likely entry of new TPO providers to the market.

In Q4 2017, the top five national installers accounted for just 31 percent of the residential market, down from 50 percent in 2015.

3. This just makes sense. Leases were always destined to trail off in favor of loans as prices came down and the market expanded beyond the purview of the large national players. Plus, there is opportunity for lenders to expand into additional verticals such as storage and home improvement to boost margins. GTM Research also expects increased adoption of O&M by the end of 2018 after first-movers bring awareness of the product to consumers and other lenders become eager to match the competition’s offerings.

— Solar Builder magazine

CleanCapital acquires 14-MW solar portfolio from X-Elio


CleanCapital announced its largest solar acquisition to date from X-Elio, a Spanish developer with U.S. operations based out of Reno, Nevada. The 14.23 MW portfolio leverages capital from CleanCapital’s new partnership with CarVal Investors. These solar projects are located in California and Vermont and consist of high-quality customers including schools, a vineyard and two utilities. CleanCapital’s proprietary platform streamlines and expedites due diligence and analysis, allowing complex deals like this one to close in less than 60 days.

CleanCapital and CarVal Investors, a leading global alternative investment fund manager, announced a new $250 million equity partnership last month that, including debt financing, enables the acquisition of up to $1 billion of clean energy assets. This was the partnership’s first acquisition.

RELATED: Why sale leasebacks? How this PPA solution gets commercial solar projects financed

“CleanCapital remains committed to unlocking the billions of dollars of untapped capital sources that have been absent from this sector. We continue to look for partnerships with developers like X-Elio to provide liquidity and capital to small-scale, distributed energy markets,” said Jon Powers, President, CleanCapital.

“The CleanCapital team knows how to professionally manage the acquisition of operating solar assets. These deals can have a complex diligence process, but their team executed efficiently and seamlessly making our job as the seller much easier. I am looking forward to working closely with them in the future,” said Steve Sceery, Head of Corporate M&A, X-Elio.

CleanCapital is a financial technology company that makes it easy to invest in clean energy. They deliver technology solutions to all aspects of the transaction process—from lending to capital raising, origination to diligence. The proprietary technology platform identifies, screens, and manages clean energy projects enabling project owners an opportunity to exit their portfolios while providing accredited investors, including institutional investors, family offices, and investment funds, unique access to the clean energy investment market.

— Solar Builder magazine