SEIA Launches New Finance Initiative to Open Markets and Expand Investment Opportunities

The Finance Initiative will also work to remove barriers and accelerate solar adoption by stakeholders who could benefit most from harnessing clean, affordable solar energy.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - In an effort to open investment and financial innovation - and to focus that capability on historically underserved sectors of the solar economy - the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) today launched the SEIA Finance Initiative.


"The solar industry has set its own, independent goal of facilitating wide-scale investment from an array of low-cost sources of capital," said SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch. "We believe this effort will culminate in greater manufacturing and deployment opportunities for solar technologies, and will be a boon for solar customers."

The SEIA Finance Initiative aims to enable investment and pooling of solar cash flows into liquid, tradable securities investable by large-scale capital managers such as pension funds and others. The Finance Initiative will also work to remove barriers and accelerate solar adoption by stakeholders who could benefit most from harnessing clean, affordable solar energy. For example, a new solar project was installed in the U.S. last year every 2.5 minutes, with 63 percent of new capacity added in the utility-scale sector; 20 percent in residential; but only 17 percent in commercial systems. One key goal of the initiative is to drive up adoption in commercial markets.

SEIA's new initiative will focus on three primary areas:

* Outreach and collaboration with potential sources of investment and credit enhancement, including real estate investors and asset managers, capital markets, insurance, foundations, retail banks, specialty finance and various other stakeholder communities;
* Opening untapped commercial markets, including multi-tenant retail, office and low-moderate income housing sectors for wide-scale solar deployment; and
* Creation of financial innovations designed to leverage available credit enhancement and pool solar project cash flows for low-cost debt investment by pension funds and other large-scale capital managers.

Initial participation in the SEIA Finance Initiative will be open to all — SEIA members and nonmembers — as the initiative aims to develop targeted educational materials, standard contracts for housing agencies and other nonprofits, and financial innovation template documents and other material. The initiative will be collaborative to reach its aims, with outreach anticipated to other nonprofit organizations, private sector stakeholders, and state and federal authorities.

The SEIA Finance Initiative will meet approximately once per month via conference call and twice per year in person. To participate in the SEIA Finance Initiative, please contact Sara Geist at sgeist@seia.org. To discuss the initiative directly, please contact Michael Mendelsohn, SEIA's senior director of project finance and capital markets, at mmendelsohn@seia.org.

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