One of most biggest drivers in the U.S. solar industry has been the bullish sentiment in financing residential solar rooftops. Banks are convinced that solar is a strong investment.
GTM Research sees the residential solar financing market in the U.S. growing from $1.3 billion in 2012 to $5.7 billion in 2016.
Financing for U.S. residential solar installations and solar in general continues to grow in 2014, helped by creative and new investment options. Here are some additional entries into the solar financing pool.
Funds Financing Solar
SunPower (SPWR) announced a program with Bank of America Merrill Lynch that will furnish $220 million in financing to support residential solar lease projects. SunPower raised up to $100 million in residential PV financing from the Digital Federal Credit Union late last year with DCU acting as lead originator for a group of 36 credit unions.
Soltage-Greenwood, a JV between the Libra Group and solar power provider Soltage, announced a $40 million equity fund led by John Hancock Life Insurance Company to build and operate a portfolio of solar plants on the Eastern Seaboard.
M&A in Residential Solar
SolarCity started selling PV-asset-backed debt in November last year. Earlier this month, SolarCity acquired privately held financial technology firm Common Assets, a startup that lets retail investors participate in solar project finance.
Vivint Solar, second only to SolarCity in U.S. residential solar installations in the third quarter of 2013, acquired Solmetric, a maker of tools for solar installers, for $12 million in cash. Solmetric was founded in 2005 by two ex-Agilent engineers.
TenKsolar announced an investment from Oaktree’s GFI Energy Group to help the solar company's proprietary solar module design address the commercial PV rooftop market.
Mercatus looks to provide a "credit-score equivalent" for PV power projects. The firm just closed a Round A of equity funding with an investment from Trepp, joining investors Vision Ridge Partners, Augment Ventures and Shah Capital. Trepp provides information, analytics and technology to the commercial mortgage-backed security, commercial real estate and banking markets. According to the company, the Mercatus platform already includes "evaluations of over 1,400 projects and subscribers projecting nearly $1.5 billion in capital dedicated to commercial solar investment."
Germany's Milk the Sun raised an undisclosed amount from Howaldt Energies Verwaltungs and Gruenderfonds Muensterland. The firm sells solar plants online and has brokered about $82 million of deals, according to a release. The firm's web-based platform brokers sales of solar plants from 30 kilowatts to 5 megawatts in size. It also manages bigger sales of utility-scale solar facilities and plant portfolios aimed at institutional investors, according to the startup.