Constellation Energy invests in residential solar company Astrum Solar

Constellation Energy invests in residential solar company Astrum Solar Astrum Solar, a residential solar installation company already in 10 eastern U.S. states gained an equity investment from Constellation Energy (NYSE: CEG) on June 27 to support its growth and expansion in 2011 and beyond. Constellation made the investment to expand its efforts to support residential solar. Astrum has expanded rapidly over the past few years and projects that it will install solar on up to 2,000 homes in 2011.

“The terms aren’t being disclosed,” said Michelle Waldgeir, Astrum’s vice president of marketing. “It’s a strategic investment and I would characterize it as a minority investment.”

"Residential continues to be a fast growing segment of the solar industry," Andrew Good, Constellation Energy’s senior vice president of corporate strategy and development, said in a press release. "Astrum's business model aligns with Constellation's strategy of bringing more innovative solutions to customers and complements our commercial solar business, as well as our residential solar offerings through BGE Home."

This is Constellation’s first investment in residential solar with Astrum, but the company has worked with BGE Home to install residential solar. And the company has been adding onto its renewable portfolio with projects throughout the U.S., like its recent purchase of 30 megawatts of projects in the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.

“Constellation's decision to support and get into residential solar business is a great indicator of what we’ve been seeing. Over the last few years the market, though still a youngster, is maturing quickly,” she said. “It’s been fun to be a part of it over the last couple of years. When we first started very few people know about solar or that it was an option for them. Everyone now knows someone who’s gone solar.”

The company has grown from installing solar in Maryland to other states including Delaware, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and West Virginia. Most recently the company entered the Massachusetts and New York markets, she said.

As it expands, it will likely look to grow out of its current footprint into states bordering where it currently offers services, Waldgeir said.

The company offers services beyond installing arrays, according to Waldgeir. These include helping customers with getting all the incentives possible in their region and the sale of their solar renewable energy credits (SRECs).

The company can sell SRECs upfront to help lower the cost of the system, sell them on yearly basis or act as a SREC free brokerage for the SRECs, she said. However, at this point it doesn’t offer solar lease-type services.

Image courtesy of Astrum Solar.