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The commercial solar industry has historically been stymied by a lack of access to capital. One of the fundamental causes of this is the complexity and variability of projects, which often leads to higher transaction costs and deters lenders from channeling capital into the sector. There is also a lack of industry-wide clarity on what constitutes a commercial solar project that is fully prepared to be financed and executed. By increasing awareness among developers on the documents and processes necessary to make a project “financeable,” it will be possible to streamline the financing process for asset owners and lenders alike. More at Solar Power World
Open Energy, an innovative provider of debt financing solutions for commercial solar projects, has announced the closing of a loan with an affiliate of Guzman Energy, a specialty energy company that finances, trades and operates energy assets across North America. The loan provides project financing for a ground mount solar facility that will generate 1.2 megawatts of electricity for the city of Aztec, New Mexico. Aztec has a population of approximately 6,500. More at altenergymag.com
Graham Smith recognized the trend of institutional interest in utility-scale solar in the UK. The recognition that non-residential solar is underserved and under-banked in the United States led him to shift to New York to launch Open Energy Group (OEG). The company has leveraged proprietary technology to bring down the cost of financing. If a project’s financing cost used to be 30 cents per watt, the start-up aims to take it down to 10 cents per watt. The lenders on its platform are institutional investors who are looking for assets which have long-term viability. Its first project was with a European developer doing a project in the state of Georgia. More at Lending Times
Funding is one of the most important questions when considering purchasing and installing a solar installation. This question is the reason that online lending is rapidly becoming one of the most powerful drivers of the expansion of the solar industry. While the residential solar market has grown fairly rapidly as homeowners receive loans or set up leasing, the commercial and industrial markets have remained stagnant, struggling to gain traction with both investors and potential clients. More at thegreeneconomy.com
It is no secret that the commercial and industrial (C&I) solar market has lagged behind the fast-growing residential and utility scale markets. While residential and utility solar grew by 51 and 38 percent respectively in 2014, commercial solar decreased by 6 percent and continued its decline in 2015, shrinking by another 5 percent. The stagnation is not due to a lack of opportunity – there are over 274,637 commercial buildings in the northeastern United States alone with roofs equipped to host solar installations that could collectively host nearly 95,000 MW of renewable energy. More at World-Generation
The month of May saw some upheaval in the marketplace lending industry with the abrupt resignation of the CEO of leading peer-to-peer lending platform, Lending Club. The crisis has led to speculation regarding the viability of the broader marketplace lending business model. Critics cite high balance sheet risk, limited transparency, and insufficient federal regulation. However, just as SunEdison’s bankruptcy in no way reflects the health of the entire solar industry, the actions of the former Lending Club CEO have no bearing on the tremendous long-term potential of marketplace lending. More at Renewable Energy World
From 2011 to 2014, residential solar capacity tripled and utility quadrupled. Over the same duration, however, commercial-scale projects grew only 25%. Experts say limited available financing in the commercial space has been the culprit behind its lagged growth. “That’s crazy,” said Bryan Birsic, CEO of Wunder Capital. “That’s a crazy reaction to a similar market dynamic. There is no ostensible reason the commercial space would barely grow over three years and two other portions would grow.” Birsic and colleagues set out to determine why financing for commercial projects came up short. He discovered that the cost of closing a loan—which is a process requiring extensive legal documentation and evaluations—was quite high for traditional lenders. More at Solar Power World
Graham Smith, CEO of Open Energy, speaks to BusinessGreen about how his company is helping to boost investment in US commercial solar installation in lieu of traditional bank lending. More at businessGreen
The sophisticated benchmarking capabilities of the kWh Analytics platform will also allow clients to create a performance metric for single or multiple assets and benchmark deals against the entire network of projects in the system. The data collected through the platform will enhance Open Energy’s ability to determine future rankings and lending rates that are data-driven and accurate – providing investors with clear exposure to the attractive commercial solar market. More at Solar Novus Today
Open Energy, an innovative commercial solar debt finance provider, has announced a partnership with kWh Analytics, the leading risk management software for solar energy investments. The partnership will allow Open Energy customers to view aggregated performance metrics across their asset portfolios while benchmarking this data against an entire network of projects. More at Solar Power World
he state of California has long been considered an environmental leader in this country, spearheading growth in the solar industry with more than 11 GW installed to date. Yet, it’s time for a new region to step into the spotlight. In the coming years, the Northeast of the United States is expected to see significant expansion of the commercial and industrial solar sectors, propelling it to the forefront of solar leadership in the country alongside California. More at Solar Builder
The state of California has long been considered an environmental leader in this country, spearheading growth in the solar industry with more than 11 GW installed to date. Yet, it’s time for a new region to step into the spotlight. In the coming years, the Northeast of the United States is expected to see significant expansion of the commercial and industrial solar sectors, propelling it to the forefront of solar leadership in the country alongside California. More at Solar Builder
Many investors fear instability and volatility. Alas, those words characterize the United States market right now. Oil prices are at an all-time low, having fallen nearly 60 percent since June 2014. The upheaval in the commodity sector, in conjunction with global market shifts, is significantly affecting investor confidence in the solar sector. The argument? With dropping oil prices, renewables are a less attractive investment. But how accurate is this oversimplification? More at Solar Power World
Four elementary schools serving low-income communities in northern Nevada will blossom with greener classrooms. Classrooms with purer air and more direct exposure to solar panels and solar careers in the 21st-century studies. A recent press release shares that Nevada-based Black Rock Solar, a non-profit organization, is working with Open Energy, a commercial solar debt finance provider, for solar projects on this four elementary schools. More at CleanTechnica
Where will the industry stumble and where will it thrive? We asked executives at major renewable energy companies to talk to us about their worries, fears and concerns as we head into 2016. More at Renewable Energy World
Open Energy, an innovative commercial solar debt finance provider, announced the closing of a construction solar loan totaling $500,000 with Nevada-based Black Rock Solar, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping communities access clean energy. The loan will enable construction of a 550 kilowatt project portfolio, consisting of four elementary schools serving low-income communities across northern Nevada. This project is supported by the Lower Income Solar Energy Pilot Program, mandated by the Nevada legislature and funded by NV Energy. More at North American Clean Energy
On February 11, Open Energy, a commercial solar debt finance provider, announced a $500,000 solar construction loan to Black Rock Solar. More at Stratton
Renewable energy companies need people with the same skills as any other fast-growing start-up. Open Energy founder Graham Smith helps advise potential recruits. More at Fortune
Over the past 6 months most major energy stocks have traded down in tandem with the steady decline in the price of oil to below $30 a barrel. The upheaval in the energy sector, in conjunction with global commodity market shifts, is significantly affecting investor confidence in the solar sector. With the recent decision to lift the 40-year-old United States ban on oil exports, the market outlook is even more uncertain. It seems that with the current record-low oil prices, renewables are a less attractive investment. But how accurate is this oversimplification? More at Orchard
If you have used Venmo to pay a friend back or Apple Pay to make a purchase at the store, you likely are familiar with the rise of financial technology (also known as fintech). Increasingly, however, this disruption is not only playing out with traditional retail banking activities. It's also becoming a new way for businesses to finance solar projects. More at GreenBiz
Open Energy, an innovative commercial solar debt finance provider, announced the closing of a loan totaling $1.2 million to SunLight General Solar Fund III. The New York City based investment fund invests in distributed generation solar projects. The SunLight investment fund received a hybrid term and construction loan for four commercial solar projects, including a school district and a private business in New Jersey, as well as a school district and a municipality in Massachusetts. More at North American Clean Energy
If the pledges from COP21 are to be met, investors need to start treating renewables as a standalone asset class, argues Graham Smith. More at Environmental Finance
Will the Federal Reserve’s interest rate increase, announced Dec. 16, limit the solar market’s ability to access capital and build projects? The short answer is no, according to experts interviewed on the subject. Here is why solar developers and installers can relax, at least for now. More at Solar Power World
In light of the recent vote to pass the ITC extension, we spoke to contractors and manufacturers and shared some of their responses. More at Solar Power World
Concerns over low-quality components being used in the scramble to finish plants comes amid questions of what bankability really means. More at Solar Plaza
The New York-based startup debuted last June with an online peer-to-peer financing platform that allowed wealthy individuals to invest directly in projects. Its first fundraise brought in half a million dollars from 22 investors, offering a 7.5 percent annual return. The portal is brand-new, so the 60-day target is an estimate. Open Energy thinks it can eventually transform debt financing to a 30-day process -- a strong improvement over the typical three- to six-month process companies face today. More at Greentech Solar
Open Energy is launching its platform at Solar Power International (SPI), one of the largest solar conferences in the United States. With the new web portal, Open Energy is providing qualified developers and project owners with faster access to non-recourse debt financing for high-quality commercial solar power assets. The portal will streamline the loan application process by consolidating the due diligence required, reducing the time necessary to qualify a loan. The end result - solar project loan capital available quickly and inexpensively. More at altenergymag.com
This is the first ever, comprehensive online loan application in the solar market – a significant industry milestone that brings the commercial solar industry one step closer to cutting prohibitive transaction costs and accessing financing quickly. More at pv magazine
NEW YORK, NY - (Septermber 15, 2015) Open Energy, an innovative debt finance firm that provides solar project loans to solar developers and project owners through its unique marketplace lending model, today announced the launch of its new online platform, designed to streamline the loan application process. This is the first ever, comprehensive online loan application in the solar market – a significant industry milestone that brings the commercial solar industry one step closer to cutting prohibitive transaction costs and accessing financing quickly. More
For the most part, the residential and utility segments of the solar market have figured out project financing. The small size of residential projects and the predictability of financing methods have led to more solar on rooftops. The massive scale of projects in the utility market, on the other hand, mean only a handful of financing houses can take part. For that reason, the path to utility-scale financing is complex yet familiar. More at Solar Power World
In a recent pv magazine interview, Open Energy Group founder and CEO Graham Smith said he believes “commercial and industrial solar [in the US] is at an early stage of maturity.” With such potential in mind, Manhattan-based Open Energy Group represents one financing entity that is targeting the US commercial rooftop market. Add solar and storage to your calculators and the numbers start to climb dramatically. More at Solar Love
Open Energy Group’s founder and CEO Graham Smith is attending Intersolar North America and he believes that providing project finance to commercial rooftop developers has the potential to see the segment make progress in catching up to the fast-growing residential rooftop and utility scale solar segments. More at pv magazine
As investment dollars flood into the alternative lending sector, fueling the rapid growth of early entrants such as Lending Club, lots of smaller online loan platforms are also popping up. Many of these new firms are specializing in narrow lending niches, touting their expertise in underwriting particular forms of credit. Here’s a rundown of some of these specialties. More at American Banker
NEW YORK, NY - (December 30, 2014) Open Energy Group has closed a $750,000 senior loan for a 500kW commercial solar portfolio comprising ten 50kW operating installations, located in metropolitan areas of Tennessee and Alabama. Thirty investors took advantage of the superior risk-adjusted return, investing on average $25,000. The entire project due diligence and financing process for the 7.25%, 7-year senior loan with a 15-year amortization was completed in under 60 days. This solar portfolio is the second investment by Open Energy Group, which has now financed $1.42 million in 2014. More
The ball is now well and truly rolling at the Open Energy Group.
We first wrote about Open Energy last year – exploring the potential market for a peer-to-peer platform solely focused on solar energy. The platform is a marketplace for US renewable energy infrastructure investment, providing debt finance for commercial and small-scale utility plants.... More at altfi.com
Open Energy is precisely the type of start-up that comes about when technology and a market gap collide.
Having identified an opportunity to facilitate lending to small-scale US solar projects, founder Graham Smith is now looking to grow his business in two ways: he wants to partner with institutional investors to bolster OpenEnergy’s lending capability, and now that OpenEnergy has executed its first proof-of-concept deal, he is seeking seed capital from angel investors.
Speaking to Clean Energy Investor, Smith, who co-ran a renewable advisory that secured $75 million of construction finance for 15 megawatts of UK solar in 2011, talks about his plans for OpenEnergy. More at Alternative Insight
To say the marketplace lending industry has been seeing tremendous growth recently would be a gross understatement. It is heating up in terms of size, scope, and speed.
We’re quickly learning that the marketplace can be applied effectively to myriad industries and sectors and that the demand is also there (e.g. real estate, vacations, education, etc).
One industry that is particularly interesting and increasingly important is renewable energy. Several platforms have sprouted up to serve this growing need, including the recently launched Open Energy. More at Orchard Platform
It seems every week new YieldCos are being formed, more banks are establishing funds for loan products and entirely new investment platforms are created.
Open Energy Group, a startup peer-to-peer investment firm formed by a group of Wall Street brokers and marketing experts, is the latest example of the latter. More at Greentech Solar
Open Energy Group has raised and closed a $517,500 senior loan financing for an operating 1MW commercial solar farm in Thomaston, GA. Twenty-two investors took advantage of the superior risk-adjusted return, investing on average more than $23,500, to enhance their investment portfolios. The Thomaston solar project is the first to benefit from Open Energy Group’s pioneering methodology. More