Braggawatt adds COO to further streamline commercial solar financing platform

Braggawatt

Braggawatt Energy, a financing provider enabling small and medium-sized enterprises’ (SMEs) adoption of cost-saving onsite energy solutions (that we covered in this feature), continues to bolster its ranks with solar industry veterans, adding Nathan (Kii) Miller, P.E. as Chief Operating Officer. With more than 17 years of solar industry experience, Miller will be tasked with streamlining project underwriting and realization processes to scale Braggawatt’s financing provision.

“Kii’s strong industry track-record and commercial expertise, combined with his engineering know-how and innovative approach, will foster operational excellence as our offering scales to meet large market demand,” said Trey Ramsey, Braggawatt CEO and co-founder. “We are excited to have Kii join us in disrupting how distributed energy projects are originated, underwritten, financed and implemented,” added Oleg Popovsky, Braggawatt CCO and co-founder.

Solving C&I Solar: How boutique financing is growing this underserved solar segment

Braggawatt’s free-to-use online platform is enabling solar projects through its loan and PPA financing options. Over the past three months, more than 60 solar installation companies across more than 10 states have joined the platform and have created proposals for more than 100 SME clients, offering to unlock $130 million in energy cost-savings.

To enhance support for Braggawatt’s platform users, new features have recently been added based on user feedback and platform analytics. These features include interactive chatbots, an FAQ section, step-by-step platform guidance and phone support.

As the team and user base grows, Braggawatt will continue to connect solar providers with fast, transparent financing solutions to best serve the SME market.

— Solar Builder magazine

New guide shows strategies for pairing community solar with storage

community solar

The Community Solar Value Project (CSVP), an effort co-funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, has released a guide that provides practical answers to questions about why and how to use energy storage in combination with community-scale solar developments. Solar Plus Storage Companion Measures for High-Value Community Solar: A Guide for Utility Program Planners is useful to utility planners, resource procurement specialists, solar program managers, marketing program managers, non-utility vendors and policy makers, who wish to understand current and emerging storage opportunities and measures on both sides of the customer meter. The Guide was introduced this week, at the annual meeting of the Peak Load Management Alliance, in Boston.

The Guide is a response to soaring interest in storage as way to more fully utilize rising penetrations of variable renewable energy resources. According to GTM Research, the market for batteries alone is set to grow 11 times over between 2016 and 2022—to about 2.5 GW. Increasingly, utilities are running storage pilot projects, and some of them are finding that a varied approach, for example, using utility-side batteries, plus customer-side batteries or thermal storage, can expand their storage capabilities cost effectively. Interest in storage is rising as a customer option, too, in response to time-of-use rates, high demand charges and interest in customer-side resilience.

The CSVP sees storage-enhanced community solar as a useful starting point to utility and customer interests around both solar and storage together, and to increase overall project value. The Guide begins with an overview of broadly defined storage technologies, from pumped hydro and flywheels to batteries, thermal storage, and more. Then it presents a five-step decision process to help utilities match technology choices to the value streams that they would find most available and economical. It also guides utilities to consider the storage decision from the customer’s viewpoint, to assure that any customer-side storage offer would find a ready market. A scoring methodology helps planners compare storage options, in terms of the various integration values presented.

Three takeaways from SEPA’s community solar report

The Guide takes into account detailed input from the CSVP’s utility advisory group, comprised of both public power and investor-owned utilities, as well as input from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

“We found that utility-side battery storage is the obvious answer, but not the only answer, or even the right answer, depending on what integration problems the utility is trying to address,” explains John Powers, who is contract officer for the CSVP and a Guide co-author. As integration challenges increase, from minute-to-minute resource variability, to a daily mis-match between resource availability and peak load, to the economic challenges of arbitrage, utilities and customers will find ample solutions. “It’s exciting to find so many storage solutions in the toolbox—so long as you learn how to use them,” Powers says.

The Guide highlights solutions in six challenge areas that are frequently encountered by community solar program designers. Those areas include:

  • collaborative processes,
  • strategic solar design,
  • procurement,
  • target marketing,
  • pricing, and
  • solar-plus companion measures.

CSVP is led by the San Francisco-area energy consulting and analytics firm Extensible Energy, LLC, with support from Cliburn and Associates, Olivine, Inc., Navigant Consulting, and Millennium Energy. Utility participants include the Sacramento (California) Municipal Utility District (SMUD), Public Service of New Mexico, and other utilities nationwide. The project is cosponsored by SunShot, under the Solar Market Pathways program of the U.S. Department of Energy.

— Solar Builder magazine

Nearmap rolls out two new views for its hi-res aerial mapping services

nearmap

Hi-res aerial maps provide a lot of value to the solar industry when it comes to streamlining that initial proposal creation and design process. Nearmap, a location content provider specializing in high-resolution aerial maps, released two new forms of aerial geospatial data services – Nearmap Panorama and Nearmap Oblique imagery.

Nearmap Panorama enables users to view perspective maps in all cardinal directions for small or large areas in uninterrupted fashion. Users do not need to jump from one image to another and, in the process, lose context. They can easily navigate, pan and zoom across any size geography, quickly analyze perspective maps and make faster decisions that impact government and commercial operations – all within an instantly accessible 100 percent cloud-based environment.

“Nearmap Panorama is delivered via our new, highly intuitive MapBrowser interface, enabling users to effortlessly visualize and navigate across regions or local areas in an uninterrupted way,” said Patrick Quigley, SVP and GM for Nearmap North America. “Our users can inspect aerial location content faster than ever before using Nearmap Panorama. Consistent with past location content, Nearmap Panorama is delivered in high-resolution, 3-inch GSD.”

Eye in the Sky: How Momentum Solar doubled its business with aerial imaging software

Nearmap Obliques enable users to interactively inspect and measure the height of features, such as buildings and terrain, from all cardinal directions. Nearmap Oblique images are also accessed through the new MapBrowser.

“Our customers need location content aligned with their requirements,” said Natasha Ridley, product manager for MapBrowser. For example, with Nearmap Oblique images, government organizations conducting property appraisal can accurately value property using measurement and detailed, tilt-angled perspectives. At the same time, commercial organizations interested in engineering and construction can quickly select a north, south, east or west orientation, measure heights of buildings and better plan changes.”

Users working within MapBrowser can switch from Nearmap Vertical to Nearmap Panorama or Nearmap Oblique location content. “We’ve added new features that our customers are going to be very excited about,” said Ridley. “For example, now users can export our imagery with measurements added. The saved image provides the whole picture, which is very useful in proposal development and communicating specific aspects of the aerial maps essential in planning and operations.”

“These enhancements represent a major step forward in both our location content and delivery capabilities. There’s also more on the way,” said Robert Carroll, VP of 3-D commercial and government for Nearmap. “This imagery is produced by our patented HyperCamera2 technology, enabling us to continue to proactively survey the U.S. urban areas including 50 percent of the population with obliques while also producing high-resolution 3-D content. Our plan is to extend our leadership position by introducing Nearmap 3-D combining ‘off-the-shelf’ digital surface models (DSM), textured 3-D mesh and 3-D point clouds in the near future.”

— Solar Builder magazine

Recurrent Energy joins solar industry association board of directors

recurrent

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry, announced that Recurrent Energy, a leading utility-scale project developer, is now a member of SEIA’s Board of Directors.

“This is a critical point in time for the U.S. solar industry and having the guidance, support and expertise of Recurrent Energy will benefit the entire industry,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA’s president and CEO. “We look forward to working with their team to promote policies that expand the growth of solar energy nationwide.”

Meet Recurrent

Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Recurrent Energy has a 4 gigawatt (GW) project portfolio with 1.2 GW of solar projects commissioned in 2016 alone. Recurrent Energy is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Canadian Solar Inc. (“Canadian Solar”) and functions as Canadian Solar’s U.S. project development arm.

SB Buzz Podcast: Discussing rail-less mounting with Ecolibrium Solar

Ty Daul, a 27-year power industry veteran, will serve as Recurrent Energy’s board representative. Daul oversees Recurrent Energy, as well as Canadian Solar’s project development efforts in Canada and Latin America.

“I am honored to join the SEIA Board of Directors to represent Recurrent Energy,” Daul said. “As we expand our U.S. project development footprint, SEIA’s work will play a critical role.”

As a member of SEIA’s Board, Recurrent Energy, alongside other board representatives, joins in SEIA’s efforts to oppose the 201 case and its fight to save the tens of thousands of U.S. solar jobs currently at risk.

— Solar Builder magazine

Details on lifetime guarantee for solar system performance now available through Omnidian

solar system performance guarantee

Omnidian, a nationwide provider of comprehensive protection plans for investments in residential solar systems, is launching a third-party performance guarantee for the lifetime of a PV system. The performance guarantee is available for owners of individual home solar systems through Omnidian channel partners, such as lenders and installers. It is also available for financial institutions, such as funds and third-party owners, that manage large portfolios of residential solar assets.

“Residential PV systems are often backed by narrowly tailored warranties that cover defective equipment,” said Mark Liffmann, Omnidian’s CEO and founder. “But at the end of the day, owners of residential solar – whether it is an asset manager overseeing thousands of systems or an individual homeowner trying to save on electric bills – want the assurance that their investment will perform as promised. By shielding the owners of residential solar systems from the performance risk, Omnidian is providing the solution that gives owners true peace of mind.”

The firm’s service offering addresses one of the major pain points in the growth of residential solar. The residential solar market in the U.S. has grown substantially over the last decade. But competition and high customer acquisition costs have resulted in consolidation and exits by many large installation firms. This has often left distressed residential solar assets without active management for monitoring system health and ensuring optimal performance. Further, home owners have not broadly had the option for performance guarantees when they purchase a system with loan proceeds or cash.

“Transferring performance risk will allow solar businesses to free up vital capital for growing their business and give customers the assurance that their investment will perform as promised without having to personally monitor their solar system,” Liffmann added.

SB Buzz Podcast: Discussing rail-less mounting with Ecolibrium Solar

How does it work?

Omnidian’s performance guarantee includes 24/7 continuous monitoring, proactive service alerts and 100-percent covered hardware and software through a nationwide network of field service professionals, as well as 100-percent guarantee of promised energy or plan owners will be reimbursed for energy loss.

Omnidian’s proprietary technology integrates with all major third-party monitoring platforms and quickly identifies underperforming assets requiring field service dispatch. The firm partners with a nationwide network of pre-certified field technicians. Omnidian’s 100-percent performance guarantee transfers solar energy production risk away from the asset owner. This risk transfer secures the solar energy investment, enhancing asset security and liberating capital.

 

Venture capital firms also see the market opportunity and value in the Omnidian team’s industry experience and unique service offering. The company recently closed an oversubscribed $5.1 million series seed round led by Congruent Ventures, an early-stage venture firm that backs companies in the sustainability ecosystem. Other participants include City Light Capital, Blue Bear Capital, Energy Foundry, Ekistic Ventures, and Avista Development, a wholly-owned, non-regulated subsidiary of Avista Corp.

“Performance guarantees for residential solar energy present a major opportunity to create value for asset owners and help drive the next wave of growth in the residential solar market,” said Abe Yokell, co-founder and managing partner of Congruent Ventures. “We see Omnidian as best positioned to seize this opportunity due to the extensive industry experience of the executive team as well as the state-of-the-art technology they’ve developed in a short period of time.”

The team at Omnidian has managed nearly half of the residential solar systems installed in the U.S. This industry background has allowed rapid expansion of their business objective to protect and accelerate capital investments in the residential solar sector. Today, Omnidian supports Fortune 1000 clients and other third-party owners of leased solar portfolios. The firm is currently managing tens of thousands of systems, having doubled its assets under management in September alone.

— Solar Builder magazine