Two US solar installers that use the popular solar
leasing model to support residential and commercial projects have closed
substantial new rounds of financing.
SolarCity, which ranks as the second biggest US installer
after SunPower, has raised $100 million from Credit Suisse -- bringing
the total invested by the Swiss bank to $200 million. The money will be used
for a broad range of installation projects.
The deal comes as SolarCity moves into the next phase of
the landmark SolarStrong project to install solar PV on military
housing across the country, literally doubling the number
of residential solar systems in the US.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch is financing the debt
portion of the $1 billion project, and SolarCity is raising the
balance the rest through equity funds that qualify for the
federal solar tax credit.
At 300 MW of distributed energy, the SolarStrong
project is the largest residential solar PV project in the US,
covering 124 military bases in 33 states.
Borrego Solar Closes Biggest Solar Fund Yet
Another successful US solar leasing company, Borrego
Solar Systems, has closed its single biggest round of financing: a $64.4
million fund that brings its total capital raised since 2009 to more than $225
The money will be used to build eight public sector solar
projects totaling 18 megawatts (MWs) in capacity, including four municipal
landfill installations and one school district.
Borrego began offering solar leases under power purchase
agreements throughout California, New England, the Mid-Atlantic states and
Texas in 2009: it builds and owns the systems, charging a monthly fee and
saving customers the upfront installation costs.
The two investors in its latest fund are returning
backer Minneapolis-based U.S. Bank along with Washington-based National Cooperative
"National Cooperative Bank is pleased to embark on
this new partnership with Borrego Solar, as its solar PPA offering has been
extremely successful to date," says Matthew Wright, senior vice president
at NCB. "As a mission-focused financial institution, we understand the
importance of renewable energy and are motivated to work with Borrego Solar to
fund projects that allow more organizations to take advantage of the benefits
of solar energy."
Borrego Solar's most recent funding comes on the heels of
a $47 million round completed in December 2011 with U.S. Bank and East West Bank that
financed 11 MW of solar projects in California and Massachusetts.
Founded back in 1980, Borrego has installed more than
1,000 systems for government and commercial clients, totaling about 55 MW.