Clean Power Finance announced the first close of a $6.9M financing round co-led by Claremont Creek Ventures and Clean Pacific Ventures, along with Sand Hill Angels and clean tech investor Gary Kremen.   

Gary Kremen is the Chairman and founder of Clean Power Finance, an interesting solar company.  CPF provides a standardized software tool that lets solar panel installers speed up the sales proposal, rebate and lead generation process.

Based in occasionally sunny San Francisco, the company aims to enable mass-market adoption of solar by providing an end-to-end solution that integrates software and financing into the sales process. 

Solar installers work with trucks, ladders, tool belts, and roofs.  "They hate paperwork," according to Kremen.   So, Clean Power Finance (CPF) runs that part of the business for the installer.  "We help the installer close the customer," asserts the founder.

CPF supplies the integrated software but soon expects to provide a means of financing solar roofs for home and business owners.  Kremen asks, "Why can't buying solar be like buying a car with POS (point of sale) financing?   Solar is in roughly the same price range - you should get credit at the same time you make the purchase."
 
As the price of the solar equipment drops - the "soft costs" of the sale and installation become more significant, according to Kremen.  "We are the CRM and MRP and system design - we produce the proposals and fill out the forms."   Additionally, we have the best database of utility rates.  PG&E has 200 rates.  We help these installers get away from the math and the paperwork - filling out he forms can take 5 hours."

The company also does shading analysis - and that saves the installer at least one visit to the site. 

As testament to the value of their Software as a Service product - CPF has won Conergy, Real Goods, RoofRay, and Suntech as customers.  Kremen claims that, "We probably power 20% of the solar installers." 

BTW - investor and founder Gary Kremen has had a unique and storied history prior to his solar venture.  As a founder of Match.com, he's responsible, in his words, for "spreading the love."    And there's the sex.com saga which you can read about here.