Sol Systems announced yesterday that the company has created a new line of tax equity investments that will support the development of more than 1,000 solar homes through SunPower. The fund will support residential solar installations in both the northeastern and southwestern U.S.
Sol Systems has developed tax-equity financing for other solar projects in the past, but this is its first tax equity transaction to support a portfolio of residential solar energy systems, a spokesperson for the company said. The company has previously structured commercial and utility-scale solar project investments, working with insurance companies, banks and utilities to structure such investments. It’s also worked with residential system owners to monetize and finance solar renewable energy credits (SRECs).Sol Systems is a financial services firm that specializes in solar financing. The company has facilitated hundreds of millions in financing to complete thousands of solar projects. The new project portfolio with SunPower is part of Sol Systems' work to bring new tax equity investors into the solar market. "This is groundbreaking work, and we are honored to be working with SunPower's talented team. They have a reputation for excellence and technological integrity that we think is critical for the industry," said Yuri Horwitz, CEO of Sol Systems. "We look forward to continued collaboration." While the costs of solar panels have fallen as a result of more players in the market, companies ramping up production, and the idea of solar power becoming more common both on buildings and in solar farms, the cost of financing for solar has stayed relatively flat. That’s is partly to the fact that there aren’t many new entrants into this particular segment of the market and partly because the soft costs of solar aren’t decreasing as quickly as the price of modules have.
By helping bring new investors into the market, Sol Systems is helping change the equation. In 2013 alone, the company has provided tax equity financing for over $100 million in solar projects. It expects to boost that number to between $200 and 250 million in 2014.
Tax-equity financing is just one mechanism that companies offering solar leases and third-party ownership options have used to support the installation of PV on rooftops. SunRun and US Bancorp created a $150 million tax-equity fund in 2012 to support SunRun’s third-party ownership options. It’s important to note, however, that people are looking at other means to finance solar leases, including developing financing mechanisms like bonds to support solar portfolios.