Macquarie Capital and Siemens have formed a joint venture to finance and build distributed energy projects, joining an increasingly competitive landscape in the growing corporate renewables market, the two companies announced this week.  

The partnership, called Calibrant Energy, will initially focus its energy-as-a-service model in the United States, where commercial and industrial (C&I) customers have become heavyweight renewables buyers as they seek to reach decarbonization goals. 

Calibrant will offer a range of energy solutions including solar, storage and microgrids for C&I customers, as well as the "MUSH" market comprising municipal entities, schools and hospitals. The JV will fund projects with no-money-down terms for customers and earn money through revenue from long-term power-purchase agreements. Siemens will build the projects and handle operations and maintenance, although the venture may work with development partners as well, depending on the project.

“We're pretty flexible on the way in which opportunities come to us,” said Chris Archer, Macquarie’s head of green energy in the Americas. “The JV is designed to respond to the different routes [along] which a project can be originated.”

Calibrant brings together Macquarie’s Green Investment Group, the firm’s clean energy investment arm, and Siemens’ Smart Infrastructure and Financial Services groups, both housed under the Siemens AG mothership.

Macquarie was looking for a way into the growing distributed energy market and wanted a platform that could do rinse-and-repeat deals that leverage its standing as a large capital provider, Archer told Greentech Media.

Siemens was looking for a consistent financial partner for its U.S. projects. “What enables energy-as-a-service is the underlying financial structures that then provide benefits to our customers,” said Lidija Sekaric, national business director of distributed energy at Siemens. Macquarie provides financial backing and experience financing infrastructure projects, while Siemens brings its wide customer base and engineering and development expertise.

Both companies are providing equity investment for the partnership, though they declined to name the dollar amount. Siemens Financial Services has also offered up a revolving credit facility. 

Though Siemens has some technology solutions, Sekaric notes the JV will remain technology-agnostic. The new partnership’s offerings range from solar-plus-storage to microgrids and combined-heat-and-power systems.

An increasingly competitive distributed energy landscape

The team-up echoes other moves into the budding corporate distributed-energy space. Centrica has Centrica Business Solutions, EDF Renewables is betting on growth in its Distributed Solutions group, and Enel answered the call for distributed resources with Enel X. In August, Schneider Electric and Huck Capital formed GreenStruxure, which focuses on energy-as-a-service microgrids.

The companies behind Calibrant say their wide-ranging offerings differentiate them from many of the JVs littering the market.

“We've seen a number of JVs formed specifically with the intent to provide energy-as-a-service in the distributed energy space,” said Sekaric. “One of the things that I would say certainly makes us stand apart from the competition is that we are bringing the most complete set of solutions to the market; it’s not just solar, it's not just storage, or solar and storage, or just microgrids.”

“We are, storage, all hybrid solutions, [combined heat and power], central heating and cooling infrastructure, as well as microgrids. And we have a number of other advanced energy management solutions.”

Competitors are eyeing that full range of options too. EDF offers solar, storage and microgrids and has recently invested in EV charging. Centrica has combined heat and power, solar and storage and has built microgrids.

While Calibrant will begin its work in the U.S., both Macquarie and Siemens acknowledged the potential for growth into other geographies.