You can also take a look at our lastest appearances in the press.
We are excited to announce that Open Energy has been selected as a Platts Global Energy Award finalist in the “Rising Star Company” category. This award category recognizes companies that are “elbowing into a new space in an already crowded industry.” Winners will be announced on December 8th at the Platts Global Energy Outlook Forum in New York City.
Open Energy was featured this month in a Frost & Sullivan “Movers & Shakers” interview. When asked how Open Energy aims to shape the future of the industry, CEO Graham Smith explained:
“There is clearly an incredible market opportunity for commercial solar in the United States, but in order to achieve growth, we will need innovative financing solutions. Open Energy is strongly positioned to lead in this space and help ensure that access to capital is never a barrier to the completion of high-quality projects.”
The presidential election has exposed many opposing viewpoints among voters, but research suggests that renewable energy is one area that receives an impressive degree of bipartisan support. A survey released this month by the Pew Research Center shows that 89 percent of Americans support the construction of new solar farms.
To meet growing demand, the industry will rely on greater access to cost-effective financing. Greentech Media highlighted this in a recent article discussing the growth potential enabled by new financing programs for energy storage and solar-plus-storage.
Open Energy is laser focused on delivering capital into the commercial solar sector throughout the rest of 2016 and beyond. SEIA’s Quarter 3 2016 report states that while only 7 states added more than 25 MW of rooftop PV in the first half of 2015, 11 states added more than 25 MW during the same period in 2016, marking an uptake in solar's geographic diffusion. As final deadlines for 2016 projects approach rapidly, Open Energy is working to enable commercial developers all over the country to build and connect as many projects as possible by the year's end.
This time last year, the solar industry was waiting with bated breath to learn the fate of the federal investment tax credit (ITC). This year, the topic of net metering has taken center stage. Like the ITC, net metering is a consequential part of the solar value proposition, and utility pushback is causing a scaling back of pro-net metering policies.
Given the uncertainty surrounding net metering regimes in states such as Nevada, Maine, Ohio, and others, homeowners are increasingly questioning the financial feasibility of solar. In these states, debates related to how residential customers should be reimbursed for excess energy production have resulted in a lack of confidence in solar’s value proposition. But what about commercial solar customers? Despite being the sector with the nation’s highest level of electricity consumption, commercial solar is largely absent in net metering discussions. However, reliable and predictable net metering policies are integral to the growth of US commercial solar, as they ensure investors will have steady returns and continue to drive more capital to the market.
While the outcome of the presidential election will undoubtedly have significant consequences for solar and the broader energy industry, there are a few state-level measures specifically related to solar to keep an eye on.
The most highly publicized of these is Florida’s Amendment 1, a ballot initiative that has quickly gained notoriety among solar advocates. Florida solar entrepreneur Neville Williams explained, “Amendment No. 1 allows solar equipment leasing but forbids selling solar power to customers, the basis for the solar revolution that has seen 1 million solar systems installed in the U.S.”
Meanwhile, in Arizona, the race for the state’s Corporation Commission could have a major impact on the state’s solar industry . The Commission has the authority to grant or deny utility rate adjustments and determine costs for solar customers. It has witnessed an unprecedented amount of spending driven towards its current election, primarily coming from the parent company of the state’s largest electric utility, and its pro-solar counterpart Save Our AZ Solar.
What does the rest of 2016 hold for U.S. commercial solar? Are you bullish on a specific region or market segment? Take Open Energy’s Commercial Solar Trends survey and make your voice heard. We’ll report back with data from the results.
The ever-changing solar industry has continued to evolve this month. On a global scale, we were thrilled to hear that the most significant international agreement to combat climate change to date is on track to take effect this year. Here in US solar, however, as states and utilities grapple with various approaches to solar rate design, the traditionally consistent growth of the residential sector is expected to slow as early as next year. Bloomberg predicts that residential installations will increase by 21 percent in 2016, but may only see growth of 0.3 percent during 2017.
On the other hand, non-residential solar stands well-poised to accelerate amidst changing market conditions as diversity in project development increases. According to SEIA’s 2016 Q3 Solar Market Insight, self-consumption projects that avoid the system-size limits set under net metering programs are bolstering sector growth. Additionally, community solar programs in California, Colorado, and the Northeast are on track to deliver a record-breaking 100 MWdc of community solar this year.
California is the nation’s undisputed champion of solar installations. But as energy from renewable sources floods the grid, instability caused by the inverse relationship between residential solar demand and generation threatens the state’s track record of success. Take a look at Open Energy CEO Graham Smith’s article about how California can continue accelerating solar without causing grid strain, published this month in Energy Central. Graham also contributed an op-ed in the September issue of North American Clean Energy highlighting the value of a technology-driven approach to solar industry finance.
There is no doubt that US solar is maturing. As the perception of risk attached to investing in solar assets decreases, many finance experts agree that in the coming years, securitization will emerge as a mainstream method to raise funds in solar at the lowest possible rate. Securitization is already taking hold among residential solar, with Renovate America announcing the closing of its eighth securitization of residential PACE bonds, this time with participation from European investors. With growing market resilience and investor confidence, we anticipate seeing securitization come up to scale for non-residential solar in the near future.
This past month, Open Energy had the opportunity to attend three exciting industry events. At Solar Power International in Las Vegas, we met with many proven developers working to grow their portfolios nationally via direct ownership of projects. Trends indicate that developer project ownership and PPA usage will increase significantly in the coming years. We are more focused than ever on supporting commercial developers looking to prepare ‘financeable’ projects and access the debt needed to make ownership a reality.
Thanks to all those who attended Beers with Solar Financiers at SPI in Las Vegas. It was a pleasure to partner with JA Solar to bring industry thought leaders together. Stay tuned for details on our next networking event!
As investors seek reliable transparency, a key takeaway from the AltFi Summit in New York was the importance of presenting solar financial data in a clear and familiar way. At the conference, Graham spoke about how technology-enabled platforms enable transparency by providing succinct and easily navigable information as an alternative to convoluted spreadsheets. With improved data availability and overall industry confidence, we can direct more capital to non-residential solar and help grow the sector. IMN’s ABS East conference in Miami served as an excellent opportunity to catch up with some of the country’s top structured finance professionals. Graham spoke on the Fundamentals and Latest Developments in Solar Finance panel, where discussions centered on solar growth amidst regulatory developments, and the compelling yields offered by solar investments in the current rate environment.
What does the rest of 2016 hold for U.S. commercial solar? Are you bullish on a specific region or market segment? Take Open Energy’s Commercial Solar Trends survey and make your voice heard. We’ll report back with data from the results.
Last month we announced the closing of a loan for a project that will help power the city of Aztec, New Mexico with 1.2 megawatts of electricity. We’re excited to help Aztec reap the benefits of renewable energy and support New Mexico’s ambitious Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard of 10 percent renewables by 2020 for rural electric cooperatives.
SolarCity and Tesla made headlines by officially announcing an all-stock acquisition transaction worth $2.6 billion. The acquisition marks another notable chapter in the ongoing interplay between distributed solar providers and vertically integrated utilities.
The nation’s capital announced plans to increase its renewable portfolio standard (RPS). By the year 2032, Washington, D.C. will procure 50% of its electricity needs from renewable energy sources, with 5% coming from solar. Thanks to this policy, D.C.’s SREC market will enjoy a significantly heightened price ceiling for the foreseeable future. The Intersolar conference offered many discussions about community solar, developments in different SREC markets, the growth in tax equity, and the increased potential for solar and storage. Our biggest conference takeaway? The financing bottleneck is still the final frontier in unlocking the growth of C&I solar. According to a major PwC study published last month, 72% of US corporations surveyed stated that they are actively procuring renewable energy. C&I customers are ready and willing to go solar, and we are proud to be part of the solution by providing capital to quality solar developers.
While we may not have received the fanfare that erupted in response the SolarCity / Tesla deal, Open Energy did make its way into a couple of publications. CEO Graham Smith was interviewed for a piece in The Green Economy on online financing platforms and the solar industry. Open Energy was also featured in Lending Times this month in an in-depth article outlining our mission to tackle the underserved and under-banked non-residential solar sector in the United States.
Thanks to all who joined us at our networking event, Beers with Solar Financiers in San Francisco during Intersolar – we were thrilled with the turnout! It’s encouraging to see the growing network of solar innovators across the nation.
What does the rest of 2016 hold for US commercial solar? Are you bullish on a specific region or market segment? Take Open Energy’s Commercial Solar Trends survey and make your voice heard. We’ll report back with statistics on what everyone is saying.
We’re delighted to welcome our newest Business Development Analyst, Amaia Schultz! Amaia brings experience in sales operations, consulting, and energy data analysis from companies including Sungevity, WattTime and the University of California’s Office of the President. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Economics and Policy from the University of California, Berkeley.
We are already looking forward to attending Solar Power International in Las Vegas from September 12th to 15th. Please let us know if you will be around to set up a meeting. Stay tuned for details on where and when to meet the Open Energy team during SPI.
We are excited to announce the closing of our most recent loan – a $1.6 million dollar project loan, developed by EnterSolar to provide solar power generation credits to be used to offset consumption by 17 Stewart’s Shops locations throughout upstate New York. This transaction is just one example of the high-impact commercial solar project opportunities that exist in our own backyard. The project utilizes New York’s Remote Net Metering program, which allows electricity generated to be distributed and offset electricity used on other sites. With the Northeast’s largely ideal market conditions for commercial solar – state incentives, high electricity prices, and available rooftop space – we are committed to continuing to provide access to capital for similar projects throughout the region.
No state has adopted solar with quite the same momentum as the Golden State. A recent Marketplace article highlighted California’s abundant solar energy resources by pointing out that the Arizona Public Service utility is now benefiting from power generated in California. With so much activity throughout the state, we’re excited to be part of the non-residential solar segment’s continued growth in California. Stay tuned for news on our work in the region!
CEO Graham Smith wrote a byline for World-Generation Magazine in which he commented on the challenge presented by credit rating for C&I solar . He explains, “While the residential solar sector has the FICO score system to standardize consumer credit, there is no ubiquitous credit rating model for the commercial and industrial market to communicate to investors. Standardization in the C&I sector will never fully resemble the residential sector, but there is an opportunity to create a standardized set of documents and credit evaluation processes that can act as the foundation for all contracts regardless of project size and type.”
Open Energy was pleased to attend SEIA’s inaugural Women's Empowerment: Leaders in Solar Energy conference in Washington, D.C., where conversations centered on C&I trends, challenges, and opportunities. The Open Energy platform was featured in the introductory presentation as one of the financing innovations that is helping to overcome the sector’s historically stagnated growth.
We will be at Intersolar North America in San Francisco this week from July 11th to July 13th and would love to arrange a meeting with you! Send us an email if you have time to catch up.
Continuing our West Coast swing, we will also be attending Solar Power International in Las Vegas from September 12th to 15th. Please let us know if you will be around.
Our signature networking event is headed back to the West Coast! Join us tomorrow, July 12th from 4:30 to 6:30 pm at John’s Grill, located right next to the Intersolar conference, to meet and catch up with developers, asset owners, investors, journalists and others passionate about growing a stronger solar network. Mark your calendars, RSVP, and we hope to see you there!
Are you driven to solve problems at Open Energy? Do you have an interest in finance? The Open Energy team is growing. See our latest job postings.
We are excited to announce our partnership with kWh Analytics, the leading risk management software for solar asset performance. Going forward, our customers will be able to view single asset and portfolio-specific performance metrics benchmarked against a large and growing network of projects. For borrowers, this technology platform integration will allow Open Energy to offer lending rates that are informed by the most accurate and up-to-date industry and developer-specific data. kWh Analytics shares our commitment to clarity and transparency, two indispensable elements for bringing solar into mainstream finance.
Marketplace lending made headlines this month with the resignation of Lending Club CEO Renaud Laplanche. The company’s recent challenges do not reflect any characteristics unique to marketplace lending, but rather underscore the importance of maintaining an unshakeable system of checks and balances for financial services companies.
The solar industry also had a tumultuous month with SunEdison filing for bankruptcy. While unfortunate, solar remains a compelling value proposition as the policy landscape continues to set the stage for the long-term support of the industry. From coast to coast, a variety of initiatives have sent positive signals to the market, from Massachusetts raising the net metering caps to California working towards streamlining solar power integration at the grid edge. As the United States installs the country’s one millionth solar system this month, we continue to move steadily towards a more established and predictable solar marketplace and Open Energy is excited to be part of it.
Thanks to all those who attended our signature networking event, Beers with Solar Financiers, in Manhattan this month. What a great turnout! We enjoyed meeting and catching up with developers, asset owners, investors, journalists, and others passionate about growing a stronger solar network in the region. Mark your calendars for the next opportunity to connect with leading solar professionals at Intersolar North America on the afternoon of July 12th. We will be sending out invitations soon. Hope to see you there!
We will be attending the Solar Energy Industry Association’s Solar Power Southeast conference in Atlanta on Wednesday, May 25th and would love to arrange a meeting with you! We’re also planning meetings for Intersolar North America in San Francisco from July 12th to July 14th.
We are conducting an ongoing survey about C&I solar trends and would love to get your input! If you can take 60 seconds to answer these questions , we’d greatly appreciate it.
Want to learn more about why we believe the non-residential solar market to be so compelling? Check out our guide here.
Over the past few weeks we participated in some great conferences – PV Conference & Expo, ABS Vegas, and the Citi Sustainability Forum – where we discussed exciting trends in the solar finance industry. These events have confirmed the confidence we have in our position to drive billions in investment capital into the US solar market. Long term investors are becoming increasingly more comfortable with solar. Additionally, the securitization market is moving towards non-bank originators, and we are the conduit for efficient, lower capital costs and better rates for end borrowers. Investor interest in cash generating, lower risk asset classes is growing. These are both core fundamentals of C&I solar investments, and make Open Energy’s model an essential tool for investors and borrowers alike.
CEO Graham Smith authored a piece this month in Solar Power World on how oil, solar, and investorconfidence collide . He points out that oil and solar are not competitors – the recent slump in oil price should not affect confidence in solar. Graham also emphasizes that C&I solar investment is non market-correlated.
“Non-residential solar stands out as being able to offer de-risked, long-term, predictable cash flows. So for a long-term investor looking for attractive, risk-adjusted returns on a non-market correlated basis, solar is fast emerging as an attractive investment asset class.”
The global coal industry is experiencing a marked downward trend. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) states that coal made up 80 percent of retired electricity capacity in the United States in 2015, while Chinese coal consumption continues to drop. Institutions like JP Morgan are stepping away from fossil fuel investments, while companies like Patagonia are initiating or increasing investments in solar and wind. Data on installations support this trend – a recent GTM Research report showed that solar exceeded natural gas capacity additions for the first time in 2015. This influx of solar power is causing tension with utilities and leading to controversial changes in rate structures in markets like Nevada.
We have a busy few weeks coming up and we’d love for you to join us! We are arranging meetings at the Solar Power Finance & Investment Conference in San Diego from March 22nd through March 24th, the Intersolar Summit East in Brooklyn on March 24th, and the LendIt Conference in San Francisco on April 11th. Please let us know if you will be around.
Over the past two months, Open Energy closed $2.6 million in loans. Open Energy’s platform is contributing to the acceleration of the commercial solar industry across the US and in the Northeast –– a huge potential market. One $1.2 million loan financed four commercial projects, including school districts, in New Jersey and Massachusetts. Edouard Klehe, a manager of the SunLight investment fund said, “Open Energy has proven to be a clear leader in the commercial solar lending space. Open Energy has truly opened doors for us and we look forward to working on future initiatives.”
Nevada's recent decision to change their solar net-metering incentives has caused quite a stir in the solar industry. However, not all investments are created equal and commercial solar provides state-wide opportunities. We’re excited to announce this month the closing of a $500,000 construction loan with non-profit Black Rock Solar to install a 550 kilowatt rooftop solar project portfolio for elementary schools serving lower income communities in Nevada. For more on how Open Energy’s platform can cut transaction costs by up to 70 percent and why that’s crucial for advancing commercial solar in Nevada and beyond, follow this link.
We’re delighted to announce our new project finance associate, Andrew Kostrzewa! Prior to joining Open Energy, Andrew worked as an associate in Manhattan law firms Paul, Weiss, Rifkind Wharton and Garrison, and Crowell & Moring, focusing on transactional and regulatory law. He has also worked as a consultant and senior analyst for Sustainable Energy Advantage, a New England-based company specializing in Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) and Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC) markets, as well as a project analyst for the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources. Andrew recently completed a MBA-JD degree from Boston University and received his undergraduate degree from Brown University, where he studied international relations and diplomacy.
CEO Graham Smith was quoted in a Greenbiz piece on fintech in solar. “One advantage of going through a peer-to-peer or marketplace lender is that as a borrower you are not subject to the transaction costs and fees that a bank generally might impose.” Graham was also featured in a Fortune piece on how to get a "green job", where he cited industry passion as critical for those getting started in the solar sector. Graham also wrote an article for Environmental Finance following the climate change talks in Paris. In his piece titled Paris talks - now money must answer Graham outlines how the private sector should respond to the carbon emission reductions. “Solar is fast emerging as an attractive investment asset class, and policymakers have sent a clear signal to the market that now is the time to capitalize renewables.”
Even as record-low oil prices continue to shake the stock market, solar investors need not panic. Reports released this year show that solar stands on it’s own as a risk-adjusted, non-market correlated and long-term investment asset class. A recent Bloomberg New Energy Finance report shows that both renewable energy investment and capacity increased in 2015, reaching an additional 121 gigawatts of new solar and wind capacity. Now with the championed extension of the investment tax credit (ITC), the Solar Energy Industries Association predicts $40 billion in incremental investments for solar between 2016 and 2020.
Open Energy will be active at conferences over the next few weeks. We are arranging meetings at the PV Conference & Expo in Boston on February 24th, ABS Vegas in Las Vegas on February 28th through March 1st and the Citi Sustainability Conference in New York on March 2nd. Please let us know if you will be around.
Looking back at our growth this year, we are upbeat about where we are heading in 2016. We have achieved some great milestones and continue to meet the needs of our customers. One of our online platform borrowers recently said, “Open Energy is exactly what I feel is missing, middle market developer support. I’m excited to see what Open Energy can do!”
Climate change and clean energy have been front and center over the last month in international news. Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and others kicked it off with the creation of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition to invest in clean energy and the COP21 International Climate Change Agreement launched it further with nearly 200 signatory countries. The biggest news in the US solar market came on Friday when the Federal Investment Tax Credit extension passed through the House and Senate. This extension smooths the runway for the next six years, allowing the solar industry to look forward and focus on growth. We are excited about having the infrastructure in place to become a driver in the growth of US solar.
In an interview on Thursday with Solar Power World, Open Energy CEO, Graham Smith, was quoted.
“We’re delighted for every area of solar. The extension gives certainty, which in business and in life is generally a very good thing. What was going to happen without it? No one could answer, quite rightly, because, first, people were thinking about 2016, and, second, people don’t want to conjecture. Now people can have a view, with a good degree of certainty, about 2017.
This is a big sign for investors. Paris kicked it off with governments giving policy clarity to investment community. It’s the investment community that will provide capital for policy targets, so the investment community is getting a lot of green lights from a high level. The insurance companies and pension companies, the ones that have the billions of dollars that will be needed for this to work, now have the structure they need, and people can start planning.”
This month Graham also appeared on the talk show series “Fresh Outlook” to discuss the climate talks in Paris. He focused on the opportunity to invest in existing renewable energy technologies, and why solar, in particular, is an attractive emerging asset class. The piece did a great job showcasing how Open Energy’s mission to increase access to capital for non-residential solar can create a pathway to achieving carbon emissions reductions and bolster climate policy.
Thanks to all that attended our “Holiday Beers with Solar Financiers” event last week. We were joined by leading investors, commercial solar developers, asset owners and other solar professionals that help build out a robust solar network in New York. Our Beers with Solar Financiers events have fostered valuable conversations around the solar market. Stay tuned for details on the next one!
In the two months since the launch of our online loan application, we have seen a great uptick in application volume. We are extremely pleased with the reception from our applicants, praising the platform’s ease of use and forward thinking service. In addition to closing a couple loans before year end, we are processing new applications and lining up financings for Q1 and Q2 2016. A strong and encouraging finish to 2015 - with 2016 promising to be a great year for our borrowers and investors.
Last week we attended the Solar Power Northeast Conference here in New York, where the focus was on the growth of US solar and the market leading innovations coming from the Northeast. We are very excited about the expansion of our home markets, and the strong industry partnerships we have in the region.
At the beginning of the month Open Energy participated in the AltFi Global Summit . The alternative finance conference addressed the continued growth of the alternative lending space and the advancements that have enabled investors to become more comfortable with tech-enabled loan platforms, including Open Energy’s. Our CEO, Graham Smith, presented to investors, demonstrating how our streamlined platform is facilitating increased access to the attractive opportunities in commercial solar.
This month North American Clean Energy featured a contributed article by Graham Smith regarding the need for online lending solutions to streamline commercial solar financing.
As a knowledgeable participant in the solar finance market, Open Energy is also being asked to contribute to a broader market understanding of the investment potential of commercial solar. In a recent Solar Plaza article regarding long-term investor interest and confidence in the US solar market, we demonstrated how historical performance of current projects is an important indicator for the bankability of future projects. This is especially timely with the current rush to install and fund projects before the end of 2016 and pending investment tax credit (ITC) subsidy cut.
Some exciting trends in renewable energy news this month: solar is gaining traction in large investment streams, with the tripling of Goldman Sach’s clean energy target to $150 billion by 2025 as a prime example. This announcement comes on the heels of the Paris climate talks coming up at the end of the month. As global leaders gather for the COP21 U.N. Climate Change Conference, we expect solar and clean energy to play a significant role in the conversation as global costs are reaching grid parity with traditional electricity sources. Even the oil giant Exxon have acknowledged cost parity with conventional sources will soon become reality, as highlighted in this Bloomberg piece . The world is looking at renewables to help solve the pressing issue of climate change, and we’re excited to be part of the conversation.
With the holiday season upon us, will be hosting our holiday edition of Beers with Solar Financiers, in New York City on Tuesday December 15th. Save the date and stay tuned for more details!
Now that Labor Day and the Solar Power International (SPI) conference are behind us, we are working with our clients and racing to complete deals by the end of the year. At SPI last week we were jam-packed with meetings; our second and popular Beers with Solar Financiers happy hour; and, most importantly, the official launch of our online loan application. Our clients are excited by the growth potential in the commercial and industrial solar space, and are working with us to make it a reality in the next 16 months. The major SPI topics of discussion were the 2016 Investment Tax Credit cliff, pre-sold inventory for panel manufacturers, and Yieldco growth. In addition, the conference-headlining speech by Vice President Joseph Biden really pumped some wind into the sails of solar in the United States.
Earlier this month, Greentech Media featured a contributed article by our CEO Graham Smith about unlocking commercial solar, increasing capital flow and growing the sector to meet its potential. Graham emphasized the need for streamlining the finance application process and standardizing documentation. “While it is unlikely that the commercial market will ever be as homogeneous as the residential market”, he writes, “setting up a basic skeleton process that can then be customized would be incredibly valuable in driving down costs”.Along those lines, a recent article in Solar Power World reported that Open Energy’s platform“will streamline the loan application process in an intuitive and clean online interface.” Our mission of bringing qualified borrowers easy access to capital never stops! Another Greentech Media article last week, From Shopping to Investing, Online Platforms Are Changing the Business of Solar picked up on the way Open Energy’s online, solar loan platform is changing the solar business, following in the tracks of consumer finance, automating and speeding up the process of getting a loan.
Last week at SPI we launched our online borrower platform. We have received some fantastic feedback that has energized us. For the first time ever, borrowers are able to apply for a commercial solar project loan online. Early users have agreed that the intuitive interface successfully streamlines the loan application process, making it easier than ever to gain access to the capital necessary to fund commercial and industrial solar projects. Not only do the online tools streamline the transparent process, but they also allow applicants to easily keep track of the documents needed for us to do proper due diligence. Try it out for yourself at www.openenergygroup.com or email us at email@example.com schedule a demo.
Building on our recent success, we are looking to grow the Open Energy team. We are primarily looking to hire for business development and business analyst roles, but we would be excited to hear about other talented and motivated candidates. If you, or someone you know, might be interested in joining Open Energy and our dynamic New York based team, please email a cover letter and résumé to our Head of Operations, Michael Blomquist.
As always, we’ve been hard at work on meeting the financing needs of a growing pool of solar developers. We just closed our latest loan with Vis Solis for $120,000. The commercial rooftop portfolio loan marks an especially important one for us, as Vis Solis is a returning customer. We previously financed for them a $750,000 loan for a portfolio of projects, also in Tennessee. Access to this non-recourse loan capital will enable Vis Solis to continue to expand their installations and ownership of solar systems. We look forward to continuing to help them provide solar power to their customers.
We kicked off our Beers and Solar Financiers happy hour at the Jamber Wine Pub during Intersolar North America and were met with an enthusiastic crowd of borrowers, investors and industry experts who came to learn about Open Energy. Due to the success of this event, we will be hosting another evening of good brews and smart conversation at Solar Power International (SPI) in September. Stay tuned for details.
Our trip to San Francisco for Intersolar was a success. We were able to meet with many potential borrowers, members of the media and put ourselves in front of some key players in the industry. We also came away with a fresh pulse on the industry, including news on the markets expected to grow in the next few months. Upcoming legislation in the Southeast seems to be opening doors for solar, especially in Georgia, South Carolina and Florida, the aptly nicknamed Sunshine State. There was also, as expected, much buzz around the potential of an ITC extension. No matter the outcome from Congress, we know that debt finance will continue to be important for all projects through 2016 and beyond.
We were excited to see two recent articles about Open Energy in PV Magazine and American Banker. Aside from that big news, there have been a couple mergers in the solar world. SunEdison recently announced its deal to acquire Vivint Solar from Blackstone for $2.2 billion. As part of the deal, a subsidiary of TerraForm Power will acquire Vivint’s residential rooftop solar portfolio, consisting of 523 MW to be installed by the end of this year. Also, Kilowatt Financial and Clean Power Finance are combining efforts to become Elevate Power, in a strategic move to compete with competitors SolarCity and SunRun. These newly merged companies will have a lot to contend with, as Green Tech Media just put out a report that community solar is on the rise.
SPI will be our next stop. We have several meetings already set up and would love to meet with you as well. Let us know if you will be at the conference, which is scheduled for September 14-17 in Anaheim, California. If you will not be at SPI, let us know where your next stop is and we’ll try to catch you there.
The past month has been a busy one, as we work with more and more developers to meet their financing needs. We recently loaned $380,000 to an operating portfolio of five projects, owned and managed by JJR Power, a solar energy development firm based in Minnesota. It’s been wonderful to work with JJR and provide them with the funding necessary to help their customers adopt solar power. Access to this non-recourse loan capital will enable JJR to expand their installation and ownership of C&I solar systems in Minnesota.
Our goal is to provide commercial and industrial solar projects easy access to construction and term financing. We have begun to roll out our innovative, first-of-its-kind platform and just unveiled the first phase of this platform – our new website. Take a look at www.openenergygroup.com and stay tuned for more as we launch the revamped investor and borrower interfaces.
A few key announcements have been headlining solar news lately. World leaders at the recent G7 summit in Germany promised to be fossil fuel-free by the end of the century and to cut global emissions by 70 percent by 2050. While some may feel this is a distant dream, the reality is that the rate of solar adoption continues to accelerate. 2014 was a record year for solar power worldwide, with total cumulative capacity reaching 100 times the level it was in 2000. Experts say the rapid increase in adoption is yet to come, even with the impending reduction in the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC). The increased demand for new financing models that will be created by the ITC step-down is expected to be a hot topic of discussion at upcoming solar conferences, including Intersolar and SPI.
Intersolar North America is North America’s most attended solar event and premier networking platform, and just around the corner. We will be there and have several meetings already set up with key influencers and would love to meet with you as well. Let us know if you will be at the conference, which is scheduled for July 13-15 in San Francisco. We regularly add new conferences to our schedule; so if you will not be at Intersolar or SPI, let us know where your next stop is and we’ll try to catch you there.
Our mantra over the past couple months has been “boots on the ground”. We have met with many industry professionals and shared the Open Energy story and vision. We were excited to speak to so many at multiple industry conferences across the country, and will continue our marketing outreach at two upcoming solar conferences, Intersolar North America in July and Solar Power International in September. If you will be there please let us know, we would love to see you.
Behind the scenes, we are scheduled to launch our new 2.0 website very soon, and we could not be more excited. Growth is coming to the corporate and industrial (C&I) solar space and Open Energy’s goal is to power this growth by becoming the pre-eminent online solar lender. We are out to provide easy access to loan capital for any solar project between 200kW and 5MW, and are committed to helping direct smart capital to the sector through an easy, straight-forward borrower and investor interface.
The last couple of months have been exciting in the solar industry, and not just for Open Energy:
If you’re interested and have a few hours, it is well worth a read. Even non-solar companies like Tesla are creating products to combine with solar power to increase energy efficiency in the home.
And lastly, from the solar factsheet:
The U.S. solar industry employs nearly 174,000 Americans, up nearly 22 percent in a year. Solar accounted for 1 out of every 78 new jobs in 2014. The industry forecasts similar growth in 2015, with another 36,000 new jobs. If true, that would make three straight years of job growth topping 20 percent.
Earlier this week, Open Energy Group secured a $1.25 million investment from GLI Finance, a publicly traded specialist provider of finance to SMEs and a leading investor in the alternative finance sector. GLI will also extend a $5m revolving loan facility to underwrite solar project loans.
“We are excited for the partnership, and believe this represents an important strategic step for Open Energy Group, an early validation of the opportunity to transform solar finance using marketplace lending. We believe that the experience and expertise of the GLI Finance management team will be hugely valuable in working towards Open Energy Group becoming a go-to solar finance provider in the US.” - Graham Smith, CEO of OEG
For more information about this investment, please see the press release.
After December finished with a flourish, it has been non-stop since the beginning of the year. We have have been rapidly expanding our reach and generating awareness of Open Energy Group resulting in many meetings and calls with potential borrowers and investors. At the end of January, Michael met with potential borrowers and investors at the RenewFi conference, where he was a featured panelist speaking about the growth potential in financing commercial and industrial solar projects. Throughout February, the OEG team has also been improving our internal technology and automated processes so that we can more efficiently and quickly analyze loan applications which speeds our time to funding and investment.
Building from our continued momentum, Graham will be speaking at the upcoming Wall Street Green Summit in New York City on March 23, 2015. Michael will be attending the Solar Power Finance & Investment Summit in Rancho Bernardo, CA on March 25th & 26th. Additionally, we will be showcased in the Startup Zone at LendIt 2015 in New York on April 13-15. OEG will also be speaking at the Platts Global Power Markets Conference in Las Vegas. We are regularly adding conferences to our schedule. If you would like to schedule an in-person meeting at any of these conferences, or in New York, please let us know.
2014 was an exciting opening chapter for Open Energy Group. We completed two project financings for a lending total of $1.42mm. Our second financing closed just before Christmas, raising $750k for a senior loan to a 500kw commercial solar project portfolio located in Tennessee and Alabama. The project received strong investment demand from current and new investors, with an average investment size of $25,000. The recent project financing closed faster than promised, with the entire due diligence and investment process taking under 60 days. More information about this project is available at openenergygroup.com and in our press release.
“Open Energy provided us with a great loan solution. Through their financing efforts, OEG is UserAddressing an important need in the commercial solar loan market in a smart and professional manner. They are extremely knowledgeable and dedicated to finding effective financing solutions for great projects and are a pleasure to work with. The loan process was smooth and efficient and our loan was funded faster than conventional financing sources. We are pleased to have funded a portfolio of projects with Open Energy and look forward to working with them again in the future.” - Carlos Mayer, CEO of Vis Solis, Inc.
We continue to innovate around how to best serve our borrowers and investors. Specialized Investor and Borrower Portals have generated strong demand from both sides. Investors can view their current project performance, look at completed deals, and also browse new investment opportunities. For borrowers, we offer an online loan application that combines with our in depth due diligence process to enable an efficient path from application to funding. Our accredited investor base is approaching 500 and our borrower project pipeline is over $60mm. We are creating new funding solutions for borrowers and aim to expand our investment product offering throughout 2015.
Open Energy will be giving talks and attending events across the country in 2015. Our first stop will be San Francisco on January 27-29th and the RenewFi conference. We would love to speak with you and answer any questions you might have. Please let us know if would like to connect.
Happy Holidays! Here at Open Energy we are closing our second project financing, improving our technology platform, and growing our accredited investor and project borrower footprints.
The number of investors registering on our Investor Portal is growing daily. Also, following the launch of our Borrower Portal, a steady stream of developers and project owners have registered and started their online loan applications. We are really excited by what we’re seeing on both sides of the Open Energy marketplace.
We’ve seen an incredibly positive response to our back-up servicing relationship with 1stAssociates, highlighted here in a recent press release. Now investors know that their investments will always be serviced to the highest standards regardless of any business interruptions.
Additionally, after a great conference panel discussion, Open Energy was featured in a recent AltFi newsletter. Even more is happening behind the scenes and we are looking forward to 2015.
You don’t have to read the recent research reports from Deutsche Bank and Bank of America to know about the great potential in solar, you can just read a few of the below articles.
Investor feeback on the Open Energy Investor Portal we launched in October has been overwhelmingly positive. Investors have loved the ease of use and transparency into investment performance that it provides.
“The OEG Investor Portal looks and feels amazing. It does a great job of presenting all the necessary information in a clean, comprehensible manner, and allows me to easily engage with my investment in this exciting asset class.” - Claudio Siniscalco, Senior Private Wealth Investor
Now, we are excited to begin Phase 2 of our rollout to the broader accredited investor community. Through the Open Energy Investor Portal, all accredited investors will be able to view new investment opportunities with supporting deal documentation, and reach the OEG sales team with any questions. This growth is another big step in the vision of Open Energy Group.
On November 4, Open Energy was in action at the AltFi Global Summit 2014 in NYC. The sold out conference brought together many key players in the P2P lending space. OEG CEO Graham Smith was a panelist and spoke about Open Energy and the next generation of online investment marketplaces.
Clean Energy Investor, a new clean energy investment news source, recently profiled Open Energy through a Q&A with CEO Graham Smith. The feature is just below along with a few other interesting articles.
If you’re interested in learning more about the strong returns available in solar reply to this email, sign up, or call us at +1 917 410 7282, we’d love to hear from you.
The Open Energy team is growing. Joaquin Altenberg has joined the team as CFO and Head of Risk. He brings to Open Energy nearly twenty years experience in renewable project finance, asset-backed structuring, and building finance companies.
Additionally, we are currently launching the new Open Energy Investor portal to build on our vision of fully engaging our investors into the solar investment experience. The first rollout to existing deal investors will proceed over the next week. We are excited by the possibilities and look forward to the investor feedback so we can continue improving the Open Energy experience.
We are also excited to announce we have contracted First Associates as a backup servicer for our current and future Open Energy deals. As a leading solar receivables and consumer finance servicer, we are thrilled to have them on board working with Open Energy.
“Open Energy is an exciting new renewable energy investment platform and we're excited to be working with them to support their rapid growth by providing highly scalable, secure and compliant servicing capabilities.” - Larry Chiavaro, Executive Vice President, First Associates Loan Servicing
Last week in New York, Climate Week paralleled the UN Climate Summit. It was an exciting time for renewable energy and Open Energy. We have included a few articles below that highlight why we feel Open Energy is perfectly situated at a turning point in the markets.
OEG in action - October 9th, NYC. Graham Smith will be presenting Open Energy at the Ultralightstartups Future Energy event, a forum connecting entrepreneurs and private investors to develop and commercialize radical solutions to the world’s energy challenges. Event information is available here.
Early last week we closed our second deal. Fourteen investors invested a total of $200k with a projected annual return of 7.5%. This close raises our solar project funding total to $717.5k and concludes a big, first step towards our goal of helping build out US renewable energy infrastructure.
We are excited for all the investors in this deal, but we are particularly thrilled to have delivered for the borrower. In their own words:
“Open Energy provided an important service in providing us loan capital in an underserved commercial loan market. The Open Energy project loan enabled us to debt finance a well constructed, operational solar project that provided us with the capital to assist in expanding our existing solar project base.” - Guy Vanderhaegen, Managing Partner, Origis USA
Recently Orchard Platform published an article about Open Energy on their website. We have included a link to that article below, as well as a few other articles on the ever-growing renewable energy market that you might find interesting.
We are hearing from more keen investors and developers excited about the Open Energy platform. We look forward to helping improve the flow of capital by linking accredited investors looking for strong fixed income returns with quality projects in an underserved financial arena.
If you’re interested in learning more about the strong returns available in solar reply to this email, or call us at +1 917 410 7282, we’d love to hear from you.
It has been almost a month since our official launch, and we have been busy. The Open Energy team is steadily performing due-diligence on possible new investments for our growing base of interested accredited investors. Additionally, our inaugural deal is performing and the investors have received their first quarterly payment.
We are pleased that Greentech Media recently highlighted Open Energy in an article linked just below. The rest are some articles that we thought you might find interesting.
We appreciate your support in spreading the word about Open Energy Group.
"I like what these guys are doing, The ability to invest in deal on a platform that is ethically relevant and offers a good, risk-adjusted return is rare."
"We are excited about Open Energy's launch of their new solar platform. Open Energy’s success demonstrates the progress being made in the marketplace lending ecosystem and we are firm believers in the future growth of the space."
"I'm very impressed by the innovative and revolutionary funding model that has been developed by Open Energy and I'm very excited to participate in the first senior loan financing. The high return offered, relative to the risk assumed, is a welcome addition to fixed income investors portfolios in the current low yield environment.
"I'm sure future offerings from Open Energy will be just as successful."
"I'm delighted to see Open Energy fund one of Origis' projects. Open Energy and Origis worked together to structure a project loan into one of Georgia-based solar projects. Open Energy provided an important service in providing us loan capital in an underserved commercial loan market. The Open Energy project loan enabled us to debt finance a well constructed, operational solar project that provides steady, predictable returns and provided us with the capital to assist in expanding our existing solar project base.
"We intend to build out 300 MW of solar projects in the US over the next three years, we look forward to partnering with Open Energy to finance more of our projects in the future."