Why We Haven’t Crossed the Chasm in Residential Solar & What to Do

Just because we’re not shooting fish in a barrel doesn’t mean we’re moving past the late early majority, venturing into the mainstream, or “crossing the chasm” of residential solar. Since December 2015, I’ve been exploring the macro changes happening in the US residential solar markets and wondering where (and if) we were moving into mature […]

Economic Modeling Basics for A Solar Project

Happening on the  Solar Executive MBA Discussion Board…
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Construction Debt/Loans, SRECs & Purchasing vs. Leasing a Site
Student 1:

1. What is the difference between project debt and the construction loan?
2. What is SREC and Single SREC?
3. If the site is purchased and not leased, would one discount the purchase price with the same hurdle rate as the Customer NPV […]

Modeling Your Solar Project’s Cash Flows – When to Increase Granularity

In this article, Chris Lord, expert instructor at HeatSpring, lawyer with deep banking experience, and the Managing Director of CapIron, Inc., outlines when it’s important for solar businesses to increase granularity in their solar project’s cash flow model.
Key Takeaways:

When you are financing a project you need to look closely at the flow of cash – in […]

How to Handle Unknown Risk to Increase Solar Project Success

Image: Universe of Issues, Risks, and Challenges
This is a guest article from Chris Lord, Managing Director at CapIron, Inc. He’s a former lawyer with extensive banking experience who now consults with solar developers and investors. I’ve never met anyone else who can, seemingly, answer any financial or legal questions about financing commercial solar projects.

In the article, Chris shares some of his experiences about how to understand and mitigate the risks that you don’t know exist in commercial solar development. Unknown unknown risks are extremely important to understand because they can have large negative impacts on profits and relationships with investors and clients. These risks are especially important for firms that are experienced in solar but new to financing larger commercial solar projects.

I found this article extremely interesting and if your work revolves around selling or financing commercial solar projects, I’m sure you’ll love it. If you have questions about the article, please leave a comment. If you’d like to connect with other professionals focusing on best practices for financing commercial solar projects, join our LinkedIn group on Best Practices for Financing Mid-Market Solar Projects.

Chris Lord also teaches our 6-week Solar Executive MBA that starts on Monday, September 15th. In the course, you’ll work a commercial solar deal from start to finish with expert guidance. The course includes financial models, legal contracts, and development tools that are indispensable.

Enter Chris Lord

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September 9th, 2014|Categories: Financing, Solar, Solar Design & Installation, Solar Finance|Tags: , , |

[Interview] How to Provide Solar Financing to Any Non-Profit Solar Project Larger Than 50kW

Lee Barken and his team at Collective Sun have figured out the holy grail of commercial solar financing.

Collective Sun can provide solar financing to non-profit solar projects from 50kW and up. Currently, they’re offering their product in California but are interested in doing the securities and legal work to open up shop in other states, if there is a non-profit that has serious interest in working with them.

Listen to the interview below to learn more about Collective Sun (CS) and how, specifically, their underwriting process is different than a traditional investor. Their key advantage is their unique underwriting process. It’s a really interesting strategy. Their process has more to do with selecting investors that see specific non-profits as low risk, rather than finding the non-profits that meet the stringent constraints of a tradition solar investor’s risk profile.

Why focus on non-profits?

There are several reasons why there has been such focus on non-profit clients.

Non-profits operate on small budgets and they always need cash. Having lower and predictable operating expenses is very valuable to these organizations. It’s an easy sell to get your foot in the door.
Non-profits have a social mission that tends to fit well with solar.
There’s A LOT of non-profits! So the potential target market is huge. According to NCCS, there are 1.4 million non-profits in the US. Figuring this problem out will result in a huge increase in sales for the firms that provide this service.
They can’t purchase a system in cash, because they don’t have a tax appetite, so financing is a natural fit for them.

A few months ago, we did a live Q+A that was specifically on performing due diligence, using crowd-funding,  and finding investors for financing non-profit solar projects. You can see the 50 minutes of video answering 5 question here. If you want to learn how to finance commercial solar projects from start to finish including all of the legal contracts, financial modeling tools, click here to read more about Solar MBA that starts on Monday April 14th. You’ll walk through the financing of a project in 6 weeks.

Listen to the Interview

In this interview, here’s what you’ll learn.

How many projects Collective Sun (CS) has financed.
The types of non-profits that CS is focused on.
The size of non-profit that CollectiveSun will work with.
The spark that made CS decide to focus on financing non-profits.
Lee Barken’s background and how that led him to CS.
Why financing non-profits is more than a tax problem.
How CS deals with non-profit risk by working with a very specific type of investor.

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March 30th, 2014|Categories: Financing, Solar, Solar Design & Installation, Solar Finance|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |