GreenPACE Capital is a financial firm that offers PPAs to residential and commercial customers, allowing them to access Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loans to finance solar energy projects. The firm works with local contractors to install solar for customers who would otherwise be unable to pay the upfront costs of a solar installation, or who cannot take advantage of the tax benefits that come with solar ownership. Employees include financial engineers and modelers, data miners, sales professionals, and solar concierge customer service personnel who work with customers and installers.
GreenPACE Capital is one of the only solar PPA providers for residential PACE in California. The company solicits tax equity investors to fund a “pool” of solar systems. Those funds, along with proceeds from PACE loans, are then provided to local contractors to cover the costs for the solar installation. The taxing jurisdiction places an assessment or lien on the property that is paid back over roughly 20-25 years through a line item on the property tax bill. The lien payments are remitted to outside investors, providing a return on investment.
GreenPACE relies on financial engineers, financial modelers, a sales team, an IT team, data scientists, and an operations team to orchestrate these transactions. The data scientists, who have strong backgrounds in math and the hard sciences, run calculations on potential markets that may benefit from their services. “We are always trying to navigate the regulatory environment and how to best utilize tax opportunities to implement our business model,” Boris Piskun, one of the founders of GreenPACE Capital, explains.
GreenPACE hires contractors to perform the construction work for solar installations. In California, they typically hire from the same group of companies to install the systems. Andrew Gold, one of the other founders of GreenPACE Capital, says, “Before we go into a new market, we need to find reliable, trustworthy installers and go through an extensive vetting process of contractors to ensure quality installations.”
While offered exclusively in California, GreenPACE is excited to expand its business model and its product to other states this year. Business expansion will require the company to multiply its current workforce of about 100, especially on the sales side, to penetrate those new markets. GreenPACE sees the biggest demand for its product coming from the tax-exempt small commercial sector, such as nonprofits, houses of worship, and other entities that are unable to take advantage of tax credits. This market alone has led GreenPACE to hire more workers who have deep familiarity with the regulations and requirements surrounding these types of institutions.