If you are a professional developer or solar industry EPC, chances are you have walked away from a number of 100 kW commercial, 500 kW non-profit organization, or similar projects, because they lacked available funding. This kind of project, referred to as the “mid-market” space in the industry, typically falls into the 50 kW to 2 MW size.
For non-solar geeks, that translates to monthly energy bills in the $500 to $20,000 range, which represents a large percentage of small to medium-sized businesses in the U.S. If you add non-profit organizations with similar energy expenditures to the mix, this market becomes very significant. Yet despite all that opportunity, our industry has not been able to find a replicable, easy-to-administer financing solution. This is particularly frustrating, because these are the very organizations and businesses that could most benefit from the savings that come from solar–savings they could leverage to grow their business or expand their service reach.
While RER has had success in finding solutions for this market, we also recognized more mid-market projects would be built if we could expand the reach of our approach. To that end, we developed a web-based ‘sister’ enterprise, Sunvestment Energy Group (SEG) in 2014 with the help of a prestigious Department of Energy SunShot Initiative grant.
SEG was launched to empower communities by bringing more of the benefits and savings of solar energy to businesses, community organizations, municipalities, and nonprofit entities—all while simultaneously facilitating opportunities for community investment in these projects. Investors get an attractive return, while communities benefit from more solar to reduce their energy bills. SEG made their beta website debut at Solar Power International this past September and found great enthusiasm for both their product and their evolving process.
“We had substantive conversations with a number of developers and financiers, from small solar installers to very large, national companies with global name recognition,” says SEG Director of Marketing, Mike Drei. “Across this spectrum we found support for our mission and an interest in our approach. Our online portal, standardized documents, and community-funding strategy are designed to open up solar development in markets long isolated from more mainstream funding.”
We are in business to help everyone maximize the savings and environmental benefits of solar energy and are excited by the potential SEG has to accomplish this goal more broadly. Our expectation is that with RER and other developer partners, SEG can help increase the number of worthy projects receiving the funding they need to ultimately be constructed.
If you are a non-profit or a developer who has solar projects in need of funding, contact Sunvestment Energy Group to find out how they can assist. Together we can open up this mid-market to more solar opportunity.
1 About the DOE SunShot Initiative. The U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative is a collaborative national effort that aggressively drives innovation to make solar energy fully cost-competitive with traditional energy sources before the end of the decade. For more info visit www.energy.gov.