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Solar energy leasing has fast become a major conduit for institutional investors to participate and spur adoption and growth of solar PV on rooftops of US homes. Clean Power Finance has quickly risen to become a leading player in the field.

Clean Power

Main St, Wall St. Join in Residential Solar Lease Program

Solar energy leasing has fast become a major conduit for institutional investors to participate and spur adoption and growth of solar PV on rooftops of US homes. Clean Power Finance has quickly risen to become a leading player in the field.

Photo courtesy Main St. Power

Main Street Power, Clean Power Finance and a subsidiary of New York investment bank Morgan Stanley are partnering to finance as much as $300 million worth of residential solar power leases in Arizona and California. A syndicate of banks– Zions Bancorporation partner Zions Energy Link being the first– are providing debt financing for for MySolar, the solar lease facility.

Leasing, as opposed to outright purchase, of a solar power system can drastically reduce the upfront cost of having a solar photovoltaic (PV) energy system installed. There have been solar lease programs out there offering to do so for zero down and a series of monthly payments. As many as 1/3 of US homeowners can save money by financing a residential solar power system via a lease or Power Purchase Agreement structure, according to the partners.

Main St. Meets Wall St.

Through the MySolar program, monthly savings from the clean, renewable electricity the rooftop solar power systems produce will flow through to the homeowner. Boulder, Colorado’s Main St. Power will own the rooftop systems, selling the surplus power they produce on to grid providers.

“The MySolar program will be the largest residential solar investment facility in the nation and can help save consumers millions of dollars in electricity payments, create thousands of solar jobs and further the easy adoption of solar for thousands of homeowners around the country,” said Jonathan W. Postal, Main Street Power senior vice president.

Clean Power Finance finds and qualifies homeowners for the residential leases through a network of some 1,550 local solar energy professionals who make use of its online CPF Tools solar sales software platform, taking a cut of the lease payments. MySolar is the third solar lease program the San Francisco provider has launched. It now has some $500 million in project financing available for residential solar leases.

Founded in 2007, Kleiner, Caulfield & Byers (KPCB), Claremont Creek Ventures, Clean Pacific Ventures, Google Ventures and Sand Hill Angels have also invested in the young company. Thus far, Clean Power Finance “has facilitated more than $1 million in residential solar project financing per day” in Arizona, Colorado, Massachusetts and New Jersey.

Morgan Stanley subsidiary MS Solar Solutions Corp. (MSSS) will benefit by purchasing the tax credits for which the residential solar energy systems qualify. “We are excited about the opportunity to be part of this solar investment facility,” said Martin Mobley, vice president, Morgan Stanley. “Clean Power Finance provides outstanding market access, underwriting and asset management services for solar institutional investors.”

New solar leasing intermediaries like Clean Power Finance have quickly established themselves as leading agents for growing adoption of residential solar power systems. They are solar and clean energy finance pioneers in that they are establishing a new conduit that taps into investment capital amassed by banks and other institutional investors, directing it to networks of local solar energy systems professionals and individual homeowners.

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I've been reporting and writing on a wide range of topics at the nexus of economics, technology, ecology/environment and society for some five years now. Whether in Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Americas, Africa or the Middle East, issues related to these broad topical areas pose tremendous opportunities, as well as challenges, and define the quality of our lives, as well as our relationship to the natural environment.


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