The Solar Foundation Selected to Lead $1.2M SunShot Initiative Project
Three-year project will bring new financing tool to tax-exempt organizations looking to go solar
Washington, DC – January 29, 2015 – The Solar Foundation, a national solar energy research and education nonprofit, announced today that it is the recipient of a three-year, $1.2 million funding award from the U.S. Department of Energy, through its SunShot Initiative’s Solar Market Pathways program. The award, announced today by the White House, will be used to open up solar energy markets to non-profit and civic organizations through a financing mechanism known as property assessed clean energy, or PACE.
Though first implemented in Berkeley, California for single-family homes in 2008, PACE financing has grown in popularity among owners of large commercial buildings. PACE offers a secure way to finance 100% of the cost of energy saving building improvements, using capital provided by local government or private lenders, and is typically repaid over twenty years. What makes PACE unique is that the loan is tied to the property instead of the individual borrower, and the loan is paid back through local property taxes. This helps make these loans both affordable and a low risk for default.
Tax-exempt organizations, such as nonprofits, affordable housing, faith based institutions, and schools are not subject to property taxes and have historically been unable to make use of many tax-based incentives for solar and renewable energy, including PACE.
“Tax-exempt organizations have been locked-out of so many financing tools that can bring down the upfront cost of installing solar energy,” said Andrea Luecke, President and Executive Director of The Solar Foundation. “Through this award, we can help meet years of pent up demand for solar.”
The Solar Market Pathways funding opportunity, released in 2014 by the SunShot Initiative, was created to support innovative strategies for expanding solar electricity to U.S. homes, communities, businesses, universities, and state and local governments. The projects announced today will address technical, financial, and market barriers and deliver clear case studies for multi-year solar deployment plans and programs.
“We’re working to bring new capital to a market that is crying out for better energy solutions. With this award we can save money and improve the operations of civic organizations that are at the heart of our communities” said Bracken Hendricks CEO of Urban Ingenuity, a Washington, DC-based clean energy finance company and one of two sub-award recipients working with The Solar Foundation. Urban Ingenuity administers PACE financing efforts for Washington D.C. and with the Connecticut Green Bank.
In 2013, Hendricks’s organization supported the first solar and energy efficiency retrofit project on a multi-family affordable housing complex to be financed using PACE. “Since completion of that first affordable housing project, we’ve seen remarkable growth in demand for Commercial PACE, but non-profits remain tremendously underserved. This partnership can help change that,” Hendricks noted.
Los Angeles, Connecticut, and the District of Columbia are among the first jurisdictions where the team hopes to advance this new financing model in its first year of activity.
“We can make lasting change,” said David Dayton, Chairman of Boston, Massachusetts-based Clean Energy Solutions Inc., a sub-award recipient. “We can bring down the cost of going solar for non-profit organizations by working with the same groups of people who have made robust energy efficiency programs a common feature of so many cities and counties around the country.”
About The Solar Foundation:
The Solar Foundation® (TSF) is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to increase understanding of solar energy through strategic research that educates the public and transforms markets. Since 2010, TSF has published its annual National Solar Jobs Census, which established the first credible solar jobs base line for the U.S. The Solar Foundation is considered the nation’s authority on the solar labor force and advises many organizations on the topic. TSF is also a leading provider of educational materials on the economic impacts of solar for local governments through its work with the U.S. Department of Energy. In addition, TSF chairs the National Solar Schools Consortium, a group of stakeholders seeking to make solar a larger part of the national K-12 system.
Learn more at http://thesolarfoundation.org/
About The U.S. Department Of Energy Sunshot Initiative:
The U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative is a collaborative national effort that aggressively drives innovation to make solar energy fully cost-competitive with traditional energy sources by the end of the decade. Through SunShot, the Energy Dept. supports efforts by private companies, universities, and national laboratories to drive down the cost of solar electricity to $0.06 per kilowatt-hour.
Learn more at http://www.energy.gov/sunshot
Andrea Luecke, TSF President and Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org (202) 469-3732
Jamie Nolan, Stratacomm-U.S. Department of Energy, jamie.Nolan@ee.doe.gov (202)-287-1760