Solar Leasing Raises Big Money 0

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 million.

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 Bank.

“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.

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