Posted: 06 May 2012 05:50 AM PDT
$300 million worth of residential solar power leases in Arizona and California. A syndicate of banks– Zions Bancorporation partner Zions Energy Link being the first– are providing debt financing for for MySolar, the solar lease facility.Main Street Power, Clean Power Finance and a subsidiary of New York investment bank Morgan Stanley are partnering to finance as much as
Leasing, as opposed to outright purchase, of a solar power system can drastically reduce the upfront cost of having a solar photovoltaic (PV) energy system installed. There have been solar lease programs out there offering to do so for zero down and a series of monthly payments. As many as 1/3 of US homeowners can save money by financing a residential solar power system via a lease or Power Purchase Agreement structure, according to the partners.
Main St. Meets Wall St.
Through the MySolar program, monthly savings from the clean, renewable electricity the rooftop solar power systems produce will flow through to the homeowner. Boulder, Colorado’s Main St. Power will own the rooftop systems, selling the surplus power they produce on to grid providers.
Clean Power Finance finds and qualifies homeowners for the residential leases through a network of some 1,550 local solar energy professionals who make use of its online CPF Tools solar sales software platform, taking a cut of the lease payments. MySolar is the third solar lease program the San Francisco provider has launched. It now has some $500 million in project financing available for residential solar leases.
Founded in 2007, Kleiner, Caulfield & Byers (KPCB), Claremont Creek Ventures, Clean Pacific Ventures, Google Ventures and Sand Hill Angels have also invested in the young company. Thus far, Clean Power Finance “has facilitated more than $1 million in residential solar project financing per day” in Arizona, Colorado, Massachusetts and New Jersey.
Morgan Stanley subsidiary MS Solar Solutions Corp. (MSSS) will benefit by purchasing the tax credits for which the residential solar energy systems qualify. http://www.morganstanley.com/about/newsroom.html "We are excited about the opportunity to be part of this solar investment facility," said Martin Mobley, vice president, Morgan Stanley. "Clean Power Finance provides outstanding market access, underwriting and asset management services for solar institutional investors."
New solar leasing intermediaries like Clean Power Finance have quickly established themselves as leading agents for growing adoption of residential solar power systems. They are solar and clean energy finance pioneers in that they are establishing a new conduit that taps into investment capital amassed by banks and other institutional investors, directing it to networks of local solar energy systems professionals and individual homeowners.
Posted: 05 May 2012 05:21 PM PDT
The National Football League has been falling all over itself in a fierce competition to see which team can lay claim to the most sustainability cred, and it seems like this week’s winner is the New England Patriots. Not only is the team’s Gillette Stadium an early adopter of sustainability initiatives, but the adjacent Patriot Place retail destination is getting a solar makeover, too.
A solar shade canopy for Patriot Place
Patriot Place is touting a “futuristic” new solar canopy as the showpiece of the new installation. The canopy doubles as shade and weather protection for outdoor walkways, which anchors the whole complex to the concept of sustainable energy.
That just goes to show how much value today’s retail sector is putting on high-visibility alternative energy installations. Despite the best efforts of organizations like the Heartland Institute to frame climate awareness as the belief system of the criminally insane, savvy investors have found that mass market America finds the whole idea of clean, reliable, low risk energy to be rather appealing.
Getting more sustainable bang for the buck
Investors are also tuning in to the fact that sustainable energy can provide a way to squeeze extra dollars from a property without disrupting existing operations – something not possible with fossil fuel harvesting. That’s why you see solar installations popping up all over the NFL (another good example is the Washington Redskins’ FedEx Field) as well as other pro sports venues including baseball, hockey and the NASCAR circuit.
For Patriot Place, the new solar canopy is just part of a larger series of solar installations that began in 2009 and includes standard rooftop solar panels, in partnership with NRG Energy.
When completed by the start of the 2012-2013 football series, the total output of the solar installations will be about 1.1 million kilowatt hours annually and will provide about 60 percent of the electricity used by Patriot Place.
That pretty much rounds out an overall sustainability plan by Patriot Place, which was built mainly over existing parking lots and includes cooling white roofs among other energy conservation features.
As for Gillette Stadium, team owner the Kraft Group was ahead of the sustainability game when it built the stadium in 2002. The new stadium won a merit award from the EPA for avoiding some of the unsustainable construction and design issues that plagued the team’s former home.
The new stadium includes graywater recycling, a smart electrical system and other conservation elements.
Image: Courtesy of Patriot Place.
Follow Tina Casey on Twitter: @TinaMCasey.
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