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Massachusetts Updates 2016 Managed Growth Allocation, Developers Still on Edge

Massachusetts solar developers breathed a sigh of relief after last week’s announcement.

Some developers of 650kW+ solar projects may get their projects built after all.

Some developers of 650kW+ solar projects may get their projects built after all.

After the initial August 26th announcement that the 2016 Managed Growth Capacity Block would be 0MW, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) opened a public comment period.  As expected, solar stakeholders expressed their concern over the 2016 allocation, citing that the DOER had projected overly ambitious growth in Market Sectors A-C. In response to these comments, DOER adjusted the 2016 Managed Growth Capacity Block allocation from 0MW to 20MW .

What is Managed Growth in Massachusetts?

The Massachusetts SREC-II Program, initiated in April, creates differentiated financial incentives for each market sector (“SREC Factor”) to level the playing field. This program makes smaller solar projects more competitive compared to larger ones by ideally giving financial preference to residential and rooftop projects (a higher SREC Factor close to 1.0) and providing less support for larger projects (ground mount, landfill or brownfield projects less than 650kW.) Previously, this program allocated 26MW and 81MW for the Managed Growth sector in 2014 and 2015 respectively.  As the legislation mandates, the reconsideration and final decision of the 2016 Managed Growth Capacity Block came from the following formula:

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July 2014 Project Finance Journal

This month's Solar Project Finance Journal includes info on the most competitive PPA rates, market developments in IL, RI, and SC, solar tariffs, and more.

This month’s Solar Project Finance Journal includes info on the most competitive PPA rates, market developments in IL, RI, and SC, solar tariffs, and more.

Below, we have included excerpts from Sol Systems’ July 2014 Solar Project Finance Journal, which is a monthly email newsletter that our project finance team distributes to our network of clients and solar stakeholders. Our newsletter contains solar statistics from current real-life solar projects, trends and observations gained through monthly interviews with our solar project finance team, and it incorporates news from a variety of solar industry resources.

If you would like to receive our Solar Project Finance Journal via email every month, please email pr@solsystemscompany.com with a request to be added to our Project Finance Journal distribution list.

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Rhode Island’s Second Solar Feed-in Tariff is Open for Enrollment. Here’s How to Apply

Rhode-Island-welcome2

The second 2014 open enrollment for the RI solar feed-in tariff will take place from July 21st to August 21st.

The second round of the 2014 enrollment in Rhode Island’s feed-in tariff program has been announced by National Grid, Rhode Island’s electric utility. The feed-in tariff is part of the state’s Distributed Generation Standard Contracts program, established in June 2011. The program awards long-term standard contracts to eligible distributed generation facilities for the purchase of energy, capacity, and RECS over a 15 year term. Upon establishment, the program called for 40MW of renewable energy procurement by the end of 2014. The program has reached 25 MW since it’s start, leaving 15MW of nameplate capacity available for the remainder of the 2014 program year, with a third enrollment scheduled for the fall in October or November.

The proposal period is scheduled to run from July 21st to August 1st. For each enrollment period, ceiling prices and capacity targets are set by the Distributed Generation Standard Contract Board, as can be seen in the table. All projects require a competitive bid price at or below the applicable ceiling price.  However, projects will also be evaluated using non-price criteria including site control and permitting, the ability to develop, finance, and construct in 18 months, technical and engineering aspects, energy resource plans, and project management experience. Price criteria vs. non-price criteria will be weighted 80:20, respectively. Categorized according to technology and size, renewable projects including wind, solar, and anaerobic digestion are all eligible for the program.

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June 2014 Solar Project Finance Journal

This month's Solar Project Finance journal includes updates on the hottest solar markets, solar tariffs, 111(d), and the most competitive PPA rates.

This month’s Solar Project Finance journal includes updates on the hottest solar markets, solar tariffs, 111(d), and the most competitive PPA rates.

Below, we have included excerpts from Sol Systems’ June  2014 Solar Project Finance Journal, which is a monthly email newsletter that our project finance team distributes to our network of clients and solar stakeholders. Our newsletter contains solar statistics from current real-life solar projects, trends and observations gained through monthly interviews with our solar project finance team, and it incorporates news from a variety of solar industry resources.

If you would like to receive our Solar Project Finance Journal via email every month, please email pr@solsystemscompany.com with a request to be added to our Project Finance Journal distribution list.

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May 2014 Solar Project Finance Journal

Our monthly project finance journal contains solar finance statistics, trends, industry news, and SREC market information. Contact our team at finance@solsystemscompany.com or 888-235-1538 x2 for your solar project financing needs.

This month’s Solar Project Finance Journal includes info on the most competitive PPA prices, developments in Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and New York, and information on the importance of inverter choice, an update on our construction and term debt offerings, EPA’s upcoming rulings on greenhouse gas emissions, and more.

Below, we have included excerpts from Sol Systems’ May 2014 Solar Project Finance Journal, which is a monthly email newsletter that our project finance team distributes to our network of clients and solar stakeholders. Our newsletter contains solar statistics from current real-life solar projects, trends and observations gained through monthly interviews with our solar project finance team, and it incorporates news from a variety of solar industry resources.

If you would like to receive our Solar Project Finance Journal via email every month, please email pr@solsystemscompany.com with a request to be added to our Project Finance Journal distribution list.

Project Finance Statistics

The following statistics represent some high-quality solar projects and portfolios that we are actively reviewing for investment.

Capacity: 200 kW – 37 MW
Average Capacity:  5.2 MW

Developer all-in (asking) prices*: 

  • <500 kW:  $2.60-3.00/Watt
  • 500 kW–2 MW:  $1.85 – 3.20/Watt
  • >2 MW:  $1.60-3.00/Watt

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Webinar Invitation – Everything You Need to Know about the Massachusetts SREC II Program

The Massachusetts solar renewable energy credit (SREC) program has been critical for driving the massive solar growth in the state. However, regulatory uncertainty has loomed since the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) announced last spring that the first iteration of the solar carve-out, now known as SREC I, had reached its cap. Since then, the industry has had their eyes on the development of SREC II, the Bay State’s next solar carve-out program. As SREC II nears promulgation, join Sol Systems, SEIA, and the Massachusetts DOER as we discuss:

  • SREC II’s regulatory framework and how it differs from SREC I, particularly in regards to the new SREC factor and Clearinghouse auction
  • The fate of Massachusetts SREC I subscribers, including those who have not yet been accepted into the program
  • Supply and demand dynamics in the MA SREC I & SREC II programs
  • Spot market prices and the availability of fixed price contracts, including advisable SREC strategies for both residential and commercial systems
  • How to finance commercial projects in Massachusetts, including advisable PPA rates and the availability of SREC strips

    Sol Systems will host a webinar on SREC II with the Massachusetts DOER and SEIA

    Join Sol Systems, Massachusetts DOER and SEIA for information on SREC II structure, pricing and market dynamics

Speakers include:
  • George Ashton, Vice President & CFO, Sol Systems LLC
  • Jason Cimpl, Renewables Trader, Sol Systems LLC
  • Michael Judge, Associate RPS Program Manager, Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources
  • Carrie Hitt, Senior Vice President of State Affairs, SEIA

The event will be taking place on April 23rd, 2014. Register today.

About Sol Systems
Sol Systems is a renewable energy finance firm that provides secure, sustainable investment opportunities to investor clients, and sophisticated project financing solutions to developers. Founded in 2008, Sol Systems focuses on meeting the industry’s most critical solar financing needs, including tax structured investments, capital placement, debt financing, and SREC portfolio management. To date, the company has facilitated financing for thousands of distributed generation solar projects and hundreds of millions in investment on behalf of Fortune 100 corporations, utilities, banks, family offices, and individuals. For more information, please visit

Rhode Island Solar Feed-in Tariff Now Accepting Applications for 2014

Contact us at finance@solsystemscompany.com for more information on the Rhode Island feed-in tariff.

National Grid, Rhode Island’s electric utility, recently announced a new round of enrollment in the state’s feed-in tariff program in the spring of 2014. The allocation is part of the Distributed Generation Standard Contracts program, which was created by legislation in June of 2011. The program originally called for a minimum of 40MW in new renewable energy procurement by December 30, 2014. The first open enrollment for the year targets 6 MW, 3.15MW of which is reserved for solar, with additional enrollments scheduled in July and October of this year.

The proposal period will run from April 21st until May 2nd. For solar systems above 250 kW, ceiling prices range from $0.2730/kWh to $0.2350/kWh, fixed, for 15 years, depending on system size and tax credits used for financing. Projects utilizing bonus depreciation and PTC/ITC will face lower ceiling rates across all sizes. Bonus depreciation is not currently available as an incentive. The Distributed Generation Standard Contract Board sets the ceiling prices and capacity targets for each enrollment period. Renewable energy projects including wind, solar, and anaerobic digestion are all eligible for the program, with certain distinctions based on technology and size. Following are the ceiling prices set by National Grid:

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Jump-starting the Solar Undead & Improving Returns…With Debt

Workmen-install-HomeSun-s-007

New debt options are improving IRRs for new and operational projects and they are also solving critical financing issues for a variety other projects in the U.S.

Debt can be one of the most challenging pieces to secure in the capital stack, and especially for solar projects under 1 MW. This is because renewable commercial banks see these deals as too small, regional banks have investment size and tenor limits that make financing difficult if not impossible, and local banks have limited experience with solar.  With these obstacles, it should come as no surprise that new solar debt options would be welcomed by the solar community. And, since we launched our $100 million debt fund, we have been rewarded with a wide variety of projects that are strong candidates for debt.

A number of new opportunities and operational projects are in the usual domestic markets, but some strong opportunities for debt have come from less expected places like Ontario and the Virgin Islands — and there are even several safe-harbored 1603 projects. Here are some reasons why the project opportunities are surfacing (or re-surfacing) and how the availability of construction and long-term debt contracts are injecting new vitality into both new and older solar projects.

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Sol Systems Closes 1.2 MW Transaction for Maryland Nonprofit, Leveraging Solar Financing & SREC Expertise

Financing for the construction of the 1.2 MW project was handled between Sol Systems and Building Energy.

Sol Systems recently financed a 1.2 MW solar project in Maryland.

Sol Systems has successfully financed a 1.2 MW solar project in partnership with its investor client, Washington Gas Energy Systems, a subsidiary of WGL Holdings (NYSE: WGL), which will own and operate the system. Located at Presbyterian Senior Living Services, a non-profit located in Glen Arm, Maryland, the system will provide electricity under a long-term Power Purchase agreement. Financing for the construction of the project was handled between Sol Systems and Building Energy. Washington Gas Energy Systems will own and operate the system.

To fast-track the financing for the commercial-scale project, Sol Systems engaged its network of institutional investors, structured the transaction, and secured a multi-year solar renewable energy credit (SREC) contract, critical to financing the deal.  Maryland SREC compliance buyers do not typically execute SREC contracts prior to a project’s operation date. However, Sol Systems was able to leverage its reputation as the oldest and largest SREC aggregator in the nation to secure a four-year fixed price contract.

“Early before entering into the U.S. market, we recognized the value of having a solid and reliable financing partner to help us navigate the complexities of U.S. solar market. An experienced partner like Sol Systems has provided us with the support we needed to finance our first deal in the United States,” said Andrea Braccialarghe, Managing Director America at Building Energy.

Since 2008, Sol Systems has facilitated financing for 69 MW of solar projects throughout the country, 8 MW of which are located in Maryland. In addition to commercial project financing and SREC aggregation, Sol Systems is tackling tax equity, one of the solar industry’s biggest financing limitations.

“Sol Systems is proud to have helped Building Energy succeed with their first U.S. solar project,” said George Ashton, CFO of Sol Systems. “This effort is an example of how our commercial financing solutions and SREC services can work in tandem to increase deal velocity, accelerate the tempo of project development, and bring solar to non-profits like Presbyterian Senior Living Services.”

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Sol Systems’ Financing Partnership with Washington Gas Featured in Washington Business Journal

Sol Systems’ partnership with Washington Gas was featured in the Washington Business Journal.

Sol Systems’ partnership with Washington Gas was featured in the Washington Business Journal.

The Washington Business Journal recently featured our financing partnership with Washington Gas Energy Systems, Inc. on three new solar projects in Hawaii, Maryland, and Sol Systems’ hometown, Washington, D.C.  Sol Systems served as an investment advisor to Washington Gas Energy Systems for these projects, assisting in project origination, due diligence, negotiation, and deal structuring before ultimately guiding these projects to financial close.

Washington Gas Energy Systems will build, own and operate three more new solar projects, at the KIPP School in the District, Presbyterian Senior Living Services in Glen Arm, Md. and the Turtle Bay Resort in Oahu, Hawaii.

The projects will come online under 20-year power purchase agreements. Sol Systems is Washington Gas Energy Systems’ investment advisor, lining up third party financing.

The cost of the projects was not disclosed.

KIPP School will get a 227-kilowatt roof array. Presbyterian Senior Living Services will have a 1,320- kilowatt ground-mounted system, and Turtle Bay Resort will have a 402-kilowatt roof mounted system.

Read the full article from the Washington Business Journal here.

About Sol Systems

Sol Systems is a boutique financial services firm that offers investor clients direct access to the renewable energy asset class and provides developers with sophisticated project financing solutions. Founded in 2008, Sol Systems focuses on meeting the most critical needs of the industry, including SREC monetization, capital placement, tax equity, and New Market Tax Credits. To date, the company has arranged financing for thousands of projects and facilitated hundreds of millions in investment on behalf of Fortune 100 companies, private equity, family offices and individuals.

For more information, please visit www.solsystemscompany.com.

Washington Gas Energy Systems to Build, Own and Operate Three New Solar Projects Across the Nation through Financing Partnership with Sol Systems

Solar Arrays Will Power Turtle Bay Resort in Hawaii, the KIPP School in Washington, D.C., and Presbyterian Senior Living Services in Maryland.

Washington Gas Solar Project Financed with Sol Systems

Sol Systems is proud to announce the successful financing of mid-sized commercial solar projects in Hawaii, Maryland, and D.C. These projects were financed through a partnership with our investor client, Washington Gas Energy Systems.

McLean, Va. – Washington Gas Energy Systems, Inc. has announced that it has contracted to build, own and operate three new solar arrays through a financing partnership with Sol Systems. The photovoltaic systems will power the Turtle Bay Resort in Oahu, Hawaii, the KIPP School in Washington, D.C., and Presbyterian Senior Living Services in Glen Arm, Md. Washington Gas Energy Systems will own and operate the solar systems under 20-year power purchase agreements. Sol Systems acted as an investment advisor to Washington Gas Energy Systems for these projects, which bring the organizations access to clean, solar electricity through third-party financing.

“We commend the KIPP School, Turtle Bay Resort and Presbyterian Senior Living Services for their environmental stewardship and we are pleased to be partnering with Sol Systems,” said Sanjiv Mahan, Vice President of Business Development at Washington Gas Energy Systems. “This strategic project portfolio strengthens our existing footprint in key regions throughout Maryland and Washington, D.C., while expanding our portfolio into strong solar states like Hawaii, giving us a true nationwide presence.”

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Sol Systems Expedites Financing for Commercial Solar, Successfully Closes 500 kW Deal

Blue Green Solar, LLC developed the 500 kW project in Clayton, NC with funding from one of Sol System’s investor partners.

Sol Systems continues its success in financing mid-market commercial solar projects, and recently secured an investor for a 500 kW North Carolina project in a matter of weeks. The system, located in Clayton, North Carolina was funded through a larger multi-megawatt portfolio.

Heath McLaughlin, the Founder of Blue Green Energy, LLC and the developer of the project commented: “We see Sol Systems as a valuable resource to developers hoping to receive qualified funding for solar projects. Sol Systems found us an investor at the right price point and helped to support the transaction on a tight deadline. It was a good experience to work with their team, and we very much appreciate their dedication and support.”

Single-site solar projects in the 250 kW – 1 MW size range typically face financing difficulties due to high transaction costs. Projects in North Carolina are especially challenging because the 35% tax credit is a critical piece of the financing, yet there is limited demand for North Carolina state tax credits.  Sol Systems’ unique approach of working hand-in-hand with a diverse group of investor clients provided significant advantages to ensuring a financing solution for Blue Green.

“Our focus on velocity and efficiency sets us apart,” said Andrew Gilligan, who helps lead Sol Systems’ Investor Advisory Services. “In this case, our ability to move rapidly was crucial to getting the project financed. We quickly identified an investor client that fit the needs of a project, and worked with our developer client to support an efficient project financing process. This is a great example of the value that we provide to both our developer and investor clients.”

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Connecticut Small ZREC Program Open and Accepting Applications

Sol Systems is currently aggregating several small ZREC projects, specifically projects that are 50 kW or larger, have or will be submitted into the CT Small ZREC Program, and are looking for third party financing.

Sol Systems is aggregating projects that are 50 kW or larger submitted into the CT Small ZREC Program and are looking for third party financing.

Connecticut Light & Power (“CL&P“) and United Illuminating (“UI“) officially opened the window for submitting applications into the Connecticut Small ZREC Program on January 8, 2013.  This program will be accepting applications through January 22, 2013.

The Small ZREC Program offers a unique opportunity for projects under 100 kW (AC) to receive financing through a fixed price ZREC contract for 15 years.  The pricing differs between CL&P and UI and is based on the weighted average price of the approved medium ZREC contracts, awarded to projects between 100 kW and 250 kW in later 2012 through a competitive RFP bidding process.  The pricing for each utility is as follows:

UI Rate: $148.89/ZREC
CL&P Rate: $164.22/ZREC

To participate in the Small ZREC Program, projects must meet the following criteria:

  • Located behind contracting utility revenue meter and have a dedicated REC meter
  • Must not have received funding or grants from the Clean Energy Investment Authority or its predecessor, the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund
  • Projects must be in service on or after July 1, 2011
  • No larger than 100 kW (AC)
  • Must have zero emissions – this may include solar, wind, and hydro
  • Developers must have site control

The total number of applications selected will be based on a set budget of committed funds, which is approximately $2.7 million between the two utilities.  In total, $2.36 million is attributed to CL&P and $552,310 is attributed to UI.  The selection process is a first come, first serve process based on date and time of application submission.  All projects submitted in the two week window does not exceed the allotted budget, then all applications will be accepted.  If the total number of projects submitted does exceed the allotted budget, random selection will occur.

Sol Systems is currently working on behalf of several investors who are interested in ZREC-eligible projects.  Our team is currently aggregating several small ZREC projects, specifically projects that are 50 kW or larger, have or will be submitted into the CT Small ZREC Program, and are looking for third party financing.  By aggregating a pool of smaller projects, Sol Systems is helping to bring capital to project sizes that traditionally lack capital, while also providing our investors with the opportunity to diligence and purchase multiple projects in one round of transactions.

If you have a project that has been awarded a ZREC contract and is looking for financing, please contact our team at info@solmarket.com or (888) 235-1538.  Our team would be happy to discuss your project with you and assess financing opportunities.

About Sol Systems

Sol Systems is a solar finance firm and a leader in financial innovation in the renewable energy industry.  Since its inception in 2008, Sol Systems has partnered with 350 solar installers and developers to bring over 3,000 solar projects from conception to completion by offering innovative financing solutions for residential, commercial, and utility-scale projects.

Sol Systems’ financing programs catalyze investments for a broad set of solar projects by simplifying their origination, diligence, and financing processes.  Developers seeking financing for solar projects can access over $2.5 billion in capital through the Sol Systems investor network.

In addition to providing financing, Sol Systems also offers project due diligence, deal structuring, and asset management services – all designed to reduce overhead and transaction costs and quicken project development timelines.

For more information, please visit www.solsystemscompany.com.

Small ZREC Program in Connecticut Set to Launch before the Holidays

Following the ‘Small ZREC Tariff Program: Applicants Informational Meeting’ held on November 27, 2012, United Illuminating Company (“UI“) and Connecticut Light & Power (“CL&P“) initially announced that the small ZREC program was set to open on December 21,

Connecticut small ZREC program set to open before the holidays.

Connecticut small ZREC program set to open before the holidays.

2012.  However, the December 21st date has now been officially changed to January 8, 2013, as UI and CL&P had requested that the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (“PURA”) delay the program to avoid the opening of the solicitation in the midst of the holiday season and this delay was approved. There will be a two week window for when applications may be submitted into the program.

In conjunction, the utilities also announced the completion of the Medium and Large ZREC RFP.  UI’s large and medium contracts were approved by the PURA on October 11, 2012, and CL&P’s large and medium contracts were approved on November 21, 2012.  The pricing for the small ZREC program is fixed for a term of 15 years.  This pricing is based off of the weighted average of the medium ZREC price.  The pricing for each utility is as follows:

  • Proposed UI rate = $148.89/ZREC
  • Proposed CL&P rate = $164.22/ZREC

To participate in the small ZREC program, projects meet the following criteria:

  • Must be located behind contracting utility revenue meter and have a dedicated REC meter
  • Must not have received funding or grants from the Clean Energy Investment Authority or its predecessor, the CT Clean Energy Fund
  • Projects must be in service on or after July 1, 2011
  • No larger than 100 kW
  • Must have zero emissions – this may include solar, hydro, and wind
  • Developers must have site control

The total number of applications selected will be based off of a set budget of committed funds.  The total budget between the two utilities is approximately $2.7 million, with $2.36 million attributed to CL&P and $552,310 attributed to UI.  The selection process is a first come, first serve process based on date and time of application submission.  All projects submitted in the two week window will receive the same date and time stamp.  If the total number of projects submitted in the two week window does not exceed the allotted budget, then all applications will be accepted.  If the total number of projects submitted does exceed the allotted budget, then random selection will occur.

Sol Systems will continue to track this process on our blog and will provide any updates as these contracts progress.  Should you have a project that has been awarded a ZREC contract and are in need of financing, please contact info@solmarket.com.  Our team would be happy to discuss your project with you and assess financing opportunities.

About Sol Systems

Sol Systems is a solar finance firm and a leader in financial innovation in the renewable energy industry.  Since its inception in 2008, Sol Systems has partnered with 350 solar installers and developers to bring over 3,000 solar projects from conception to completion by offering innovative financing solutions for residential, commercial, and utility-scale projects.

Sol Systems’ financing programs catalyze investments for a broad set of solar projects by simplifying their origination, diligence, and financing processes.  Developers seeking financing for solar projects can access over $2.5 billion in capital through the Sol Systems investor network.

In addition to providing financing, Sol Systems also offers project due diligence, deal structuring, and asset management services – all designed to reduce overhead and transaction costs and quicken project development timelines.

For more information, please visit www.solsystemscommpany.com.

S-REITs – The Closest Option to Public Solar Financing?

Solar finance is not a new concept, but it’s predominately controlled through private and business to business transactions. The limited availability of capital, combined with the risks associated with a still maturing solar market, leave developers with a higher transaction costs in the search of  financing for solar projects. Platforms such as SolMarket attempt to mitigate the challenges of solar finance by matching projects with an appropriate network of pre-qualified investors.

In the search for new sources of capital, topics of “real property” and REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) have arisen within the solar community. A REIT, as defined by the Securities and Exchange Commission, “is a company that owns – and typically operates – income-producing real estate or real estate-related assets.” REITs act similar to exchange traded funds where public investors can participate in a diversified pool of real estate investments without owning or purchasing property. Investors would earn a share of the income produced through the commercial site through dividend payments. Currently, there are two tests for REITs. First, the income test requires that 95% of income must come from approved sources (usually rent). Second, the asset test requires that 75% of its assets must be real property.

If the property definition for solar PV systems is changed through tax code reform, investors could begin to explore the potential world of S-REITs (Solar Real Estate Investment Trusts). S-REIT’s would allow for a more transparent, secure, and competitive method of financing solar projects. The pool of investors would expand beyond private investment funds, to retail investors and even pension funds. One of the most attractive features of a REIT is its exemption from corporate taxation, as long as it distributes 90% of income to investors. In the case of solar, the main challenge arises with the income test. Unfortunately, the qualifications of a power purchase agreement as a form of rent are, at best, questionable.

Of course, even if solar fulfills the requirements of a REIT system through PPA installments, PV systems are still considered personal property. A change in the property tax code has to occur in order for S-REITs to exist. One important definition by the Internal Revenue Service regarding real property includes “land or improvements thereon, such as buildings or other inherently permanent structures thereon,” (Section 1.856-3(d) of the Income Tax Regulations) while personal property is essentially everything else that you own.

While solar energy systems can be physically moved, they are often fixed for periods up to, and beyond, 25 years. The main inhibitor to establishing solar as real property is the concept that solar panels operate in a system.  That is, if the inverter or mounting is removed from a solar installation, the array’s functionality is reduced or completely eliminated.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory recently wrote a detailed report on S-REITs.

S-REITs are yet another innovation of the solar finance community. However, like other facets of the solar market, S-REITS face the challenges of complex state regulations and tax codes. While the concept may never come to fruition, the idea signals a greater demand for a more transparent, liquid, and stable solar market.

About Sol Systems

Sol Systems is a solar finance firm and a leader in financial innovation in the renewable energy industry. Since its inception in 2008, Sol Systems has partnered with 350 installers and developers to bring over 3,000 solar projects from conception to completion by offering innovative financing solutions for residential, commercial, and utility-scale projects.

Sol Systems’ financing programs catalyze investments for a broad set of solar projects by simplifying the origination, diligence, and financing processes. Developers seeking financing for projects can access over $2.5 billion in capital through the Sol Systems investor network.

In addition to providing financing, Sol Systems also offers project due diligence, deal structuring, and asset management services – all designed to reduce overhead and transaction costs and quicken project development timelines.

For more information, please visit www.solsystemscompany.com.

Sol Systems Issues Call for Solar Projects – New Project Finance Platform Now Has $400 Million in Available Funding

Sol Systems Issues Call for Solar Projects – New Project Finance Platform Now Has $400 Million in Available Funding

Washington, DC: September 14, 2011 – Less than two weeks after launch, Sol Systems is proud to announce that its new solar finance platform, SolMarket, has increased from $350 million in available investment dollars to $400 million.  In addition, reception by solar installers and developers across the country has been overwhelmingly positive.  SolMarket’s network now includes over 180 companies and 300 users.

SolMarket is a financing platform that will catalyze investment in solar energy projects nationwide by transforming how solar projects are financed.  SolMarket provides investors and developers with the tools they need to efficiently originate, evaluate, finance, and construct renewable energy projects.  It provides a standardized origination platform, a document library, modeling software, and a standardized document suite.  SolMarket will also offer developers group purchase discounts for solar modules and other equipment.  There are no costs for developers to participate in SolMarket.

“We talk to hundreds of solar developers about prospective commercial and utility-scale projects, and unfortunately, many of these solar projects are never built due to an inability to efficiently locate financing,” said Yuri Horwitz, CEO of Sol Systems.  “We have created SolMarket to help drive efficiencies into the solar market and connect investors and developers effectively.  SolMarket will reduce the cost of financing transactions and enhance the tempo of solar project development.”

SolMarket is currently seeking projects ranging from 50 kW to multi-megawatts in size.  Solar developers are encouraged to submit their projects prior to September 30th, when investors will get their first look at projects.  Projects entered prior to this date increase their visibility and the likelihood of getting included in the investors’ 2011 portfolios.

Sol Systems invites interested solar developers to attend a SolMarket webinar, hosted every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday during the month of September at 2 pm EST.  For more information, please email info@solmarket.com or visit www.solmarket.com.

About Sol Systems

SolMarket is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sol SystemsSol Systems is a Washington D.C. based solar finance firm, and the largest solar renewable energy credit (SREC) aggregator in the nation, with over 2,300 customers and over 20 MW of solar capacity under management.  Through its SREC offerings, it has promoted the development of the solar market by providing long-term financing options for SRECs, facilitating over $100 million in solar development.

Contact:

Ms. Sudha Gollapudi, Director of Strategic Partnerships

info@solmarket.com

888-765-1115 x1

Sol Systems Issues Call for Solar Projects – Launches Project Finance Platform with $350 Million in Available Funding

Washington, DC: August 31, 2011 - Sol Systems today announced the launch of SolMarket, a new financing platform that will catalyze investment in solar energy projects nationwide by transforming how solar projects are financed.  SolMarket launches with over $350 million of committed partner funds, actively seeking solar projects in need of financing.

SolMarket provides investors and developers with the tools they need to efficiently originate, evaluate, finance, and construct renewable energy projects.  It provides a standardized origination platform, a document library, modeling software, and a standardized document suite.  SolMarket will also offer developers group purchase discounts for solar modules and other equipment.  There are no costs for developers to participate in SolMarket.

“We talk to hundreds of solar developers about prospective commercial and utility-scale projects, and unfortunately, many of these solar projects are never built due to an inability to efficiently locate financing,” said Yuri Horwitz, CEO of Sol Systems.  “We have created SolMarket to help drive efficiencies into the solar market and connect investors and developers effectively.  SolMarket will reduce the cost of financing transactions and enhance the tempo of solar project development.”

SolMarket has already attracted funding from a number of investors and is seeking projects ranging from 50 kW to multi-megawatts in size.  Solar developers are encouraged to submit their projects prior to September 30th because investors are quickly building out their portfolios for 2011.

Sol Systems invites interested solar developers to attend a SolMarket webinar on Thursday, September 1st, Friday, September 2nd, or Tuesday, September 6th at 11 am EST.  For more information, please email info@solmarket.com or visit www.solmarket.com.

About Sol Systems

SolMarket is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sol Systems.  Sol Systems is a Washington D.C. based solar finance firm, and the largest solar renewable energy credit (SREC) aggregator in the nation, with over 2,300 customers and over 20 MW of solar capacity under management.  Through its SREC offerings, it has promoted the development of the solar market by providing long-term financing options for SRECs, facilitating over $100 million in solar development.

Contact:

Ms. Sudha Gollapudi, Director of Strategic Partnerships

info@solmarket.com

888-765-1115 x1

Magic and Sunrays in the Air

In a neighborhood where painting your door a different color requires approval from a presidentially appointed commission, Georgetown Energy is aiming to permanently change the view of dozens of houses – from the sky.

Georgetown Energy, a student consultancy devoted to helping residents convert to solar electricity, is heading a monumental solar project that involves turning 43 quintessential student townhouse residences to solar electricity in the midst of Washington DC’s historic Georgetown district. Although it is a long-term project to be enjoyed by the generations after many of the current members of the group have graduated, Georgetown Energy students believe that the rewards of such an innovative project are well worth the effort.

What magic surrounding solar coaxed students to become involved so profoundly?  First, there is a substantial payback for the investment. In a solar lease contract signed between Georgetown University, which owns the student townhouses, and Solar City, a leading national solar installation company, adding 96.6 kW of solar capacity to 43 townhouses will require an initial investment of about $164,000, much less than if the University were to purchase the solar panels. Although Georgetown Energy has partnered with SolarCity for this project and used its solar lease scheme as a model, the project will be offered to various installers at its final stages. In the innovative solar lease scheme, the University will “lease” the roof of each townhouse to the installer, which will design, own, and operate a solar photovoltaic system on each townhouse.  The installer will then sell the electricity produced from each solar project to the residents of the townhouse at a lower price than the traditional competing utility. Savings increase every year and over the 20 years duration of the solar lease contract, students would save a total of $458,856 in their electricity cost. After the contract is over, the student body can decide whether to buy the panels at a low price.

Indeed, another charming aspect of the proposal is that everything is student-owned. Originating from the need to allocate a 3.4 million dollar defunct student endowment, the solar investment will take up only a portion of the available fund and coexist with other student proposals as well as generate profit. Ideally, Georgetown Energy sees the proceeds creating a fund for related projects to further environmental awareness and energy studies on campus.

Is there anything else in it for the university, the students, and the DC area? Sol Systems, a strong force in the fight for better solar incentives in DC, believes so. Not only is being involved in such a movement ideal preparation for a career in renewable energy (two recent graduates and former members of Georgetown Energy actually work at Sol Systems), but there is much potential for the greater DC area too. Of course, cleaner air for the district tops the list. It may even attract more students interested in environmental and energy issues and demonstrate the feasibility of clean energy investments, creating a virtuous cycle of environmental awareness and action in the university community. Perhaps the project may even set an example of a successful clean energy investment that some students may follow individually in the future. Lastly, it is a modern display of service to the community, the crux of the founding Jesuit ideals of Georgetown University.

What stage is the project at right now? In April 2011, a student commission voted in support of the proposal. Now Georgetown Energy students are working with University officials on the details. These include contractual issues, billing mechanisms, pricing, and structural and electrical issues with the houses. The Georgetown Energy students are learning some concrete skills needed for evaluating any type of construction investment. The work done from June-August 2011 will culminate in a final recommendation to be handed to the University on September 1st after which Georgetown Energy students will have to persuade the rest of the student body off their feet for a concluding student referendum and choose from final proposals from competing vendors and permitting.  If all goes well, the battle will be won one year from today. The panels will be constructed in Fall 2012 and convert ordinary sunrays to a unique opportunity for revenue and intellectual growth – truly magic!

Sol Bridge Allows Business Owners to Go Solar with Low Out-of-Pocket Costs

Sol Systems, the oldest and largest solar renewable energy credit (SREC) aggregator in the U.S., recently announced a new financing solution for commercial-size solar energy systems called Sol Bridge. The bridge financing solves a problem that many prospective solar owners face: commercial-sized solar energy systems have high capital costs (typically more than $100,000), and system owners must pay for the system costs several months before they receive their federal and state solar incentives or solar renewable energy credit (SREC) payments. Because most businesses have limited cash and must reserve their capital for business-related expenses and investments, owning a solar energy system is a distant possibility.

Sol Bridge addresses this problem by providing a 90 day cash advance to system owners for the 30% federal tax grant and any applicable state incentives. This option allows business owners to go solar without tying up capital, while still retaining ownership of their system and all the benefits including SREC payments and electricity bill savings.

The cash advance is provided upon system completion and can be assigned to the solar installer, so that the installer reduces the customer’s payment amounts accordingly. Sol Bridge and the corresponding loan fees are due after 90 days, however, the loan fees can be wrapped into the total installation costs and therefore included in the amount that will be refunded upon receipt of the federal grant and state rebates.

In addition, Sol Bridge can be paired with the Sol Upfront SREC payment option which allows system owners to pre-sell the future SRECs to Sol Systems in exchange for a one-time lump-sum payment. When the Sol Bridge and Sol Upfront options are combined, the system owner is responsible for merely 10-30% of the remaining system costs; moreover, the business owner reaps the full benefits of their electricity savings because there is no ongoing solar lease fee or PPA payments.

Please visit the Sol Systems website for more information about Sol Bridge.

About Sol Systems:
Sol Systems is a solar energy finance and development firm that was built on the principle that solar energy should be an economically viable energy solution. With thousands of customers and hundreds of partners throughout the United States, Sol Systems is the largest and oldest SREC aggregator. We provide homeowners, businesses, solar installers, and developers with sophisticated financing solutions that help make solar energy more affordable. Sol Systems also helps energy suppliers and utilities manage and meet their solar RPS requirements efficiently by providing them with access to diverse portfolios of SRECs. For more information, please visit www.solsystemscompany.com.

Hedging SREC Price Volatility for Commercial PV Projects

Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) markets can be volatile, which can create significant concerns for a financier interested in investing in a commercial solar photovoltaic project. Exposure to price volatility can undermine the economics of solar projects, or simply prevent a project from ever taking off. As state rebate programs are depleted, and SREC values become even more critical to the financing of commercial-scale solar plants, minimizing SREC price volatility will be essential to success. For these reasons, more sophisticated SREC financing solutions will be required for commercial projects to address and mitigate price risk.

When discussing commercial scale solar projects, generally we are referring to projects that are larger than residential solar systems, but that are not large enough to negotiate an SREC contract directly with a regulated energy supplier or utility. Using this definition of commercial project, a commercial project can range anywhere between 20 KW to 2 MW, and produce approximately 24 to 2,400 SRECs annually.

In robust SREC markets, particularly the ones where state rebates and incentives are draining quickly (i.e. Ohio, New Jersey, DC), the value derived from SRECs may constitute 30 to 40% of the project’s returns over the first five years of operation. So, for example, a project in Pennsylvania may be a good investment if SREC values are stable during the first five years of the system’s production, but may be a very poor investment if SREC values drop by 20%, reducing the total yield on the investment of roughly 8%. In short, SREC price volatility can turn a relatively profitable investment into a wash for the investors backing the project.

The addition of new solar capacity, legislative changes to state Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS), and other SREC market developments can all affect SREC values. This uncertainty poses a risk to the security of a solar investment, and addressing this risk will be essential for project developers.

Sol Systems makes it possible for project developers and system owners to address this risk by providing various SREC payment structures. For commercial projects, Sol Systems can partition portions of the SREC stream into forward contracts and/or brokerage arrangements. The forward contracts are available in 3 and 5 year terms. Sol Systems can also offer an upfront payment that pre-pays for the future rights to SREC generation. The upfront payment securitizes the SREC stream, providing the greatest insulation against SREC price volatility and regulatory risk. These options allow solar investors to hedge their exposure to SREC price volatility. Depending on the investor’s risk appetite, Sol Systems can provide SREC services that provide the right level of risk and reward to ensure that a project gets off the ground and pays investors the returns they expect.