Between tax incentives, including those stemming from the Inflation Reduction Act, and reducing their utility bill, solar can help companies control costs and put more money toward other business objectives.
Solar Financing for Small to Medium Sized Commercial Properties
Q&A with Susan Tanski, Co-founder and Head of Strategy | Sunstone Credit
Can you tell me a bit about Sunstone Credit and the work you do?
Sunstone Credit is a clean energy financing company that helps businesses of all sizes go solar.
Due to the large upfront expense, one of the biggest issues companies have when it comes to switching to solar energy is the financing, which is where Sunstone comes in. We have a network of solar installer partners throughout the country that we work with to offer businesses access to simple, affordable and easy-to-understand solar loan financing.
Ultimately, we want to help companies reduce their carbon footprint, while saving money and contributing to a clean, green future.
Outside of the environmental impact, what are some of the ways going solar can benefit a business?
There are a number of ways going solar can benefit your business. Some examples include:
Economic Benefits: Between tax incentives, including those stemming from the Inflation Reduction Act, and reducing their utility bill, solar can help companies control costs and put more money toward other business objectives.
Customer Preference: Whether it’s a global company like Patagonia, or a local, eco-friendly soap maker from the farmers market, consumers have shown that they’ll spend more if it means buying from a sustainable company. And it doesn’t stop at consumers. Investors and lenders are also demanding more sustainable practices from the companies they do business with.
Resilient Power Access: Going solar gives businesses more energy independence. So even when there are issues with the grid, or power outages, businesses that use solar panels backed up with battery storage can stay open without interruption and continue to serve their customers.
What is preventing more businesses from going solar?
Financing. Solar comes with a large upfront cost, and until recently, most companies have not had easy access to loan financing for solar installations.
With Sunstone, we’ve created affordable and easy-to-understand solar financing so that more and more businesses can start to take advantage of the benefits of going solar.
What's the top misconception that businesses have when it comes to solar and / or solar financing?
A lot of people think that solar only pays off if you live in a state with a lot of sun, when really, solar offers financial benefits no matter where you live. Take New Jersey for example. While they don’t get the most sunlight in the world, energy tends to be more expensive there and there are local incentives that businesses can take advantage of. So if an NJ-based company switches to solar, they can easily generate significant utility bill savings, even in the dead of winter.
How are Sunstone's loans different than other financing options?
Sunstone strives to be different in a few ways. First, our underwriting evaluates the credit of the business and we do not require a personal guarantee from the business owner in most cases. Second, we offer long terms, up to 20 years, as well as 100% financing at fixed interest rates. Finally, we have a much more streamlined underwriting process than banks or other financing programs. Our goal is for businesses to be able to go solar and see the benefits as quickly as possible, while minimizing headaches.
Where do you see the commercial solar market heading over the next few years?
We believe the commercial solar market is an over $1 trillion opportunity, and the best way to finance these projects is with easy and straightforward loan products like those offered by Sunstone. Residential solar finance is already figured out for the most part, and so is large and utility scale, so small to medium sized commercial properties are really the final domino here. We’re excited to fill that void and help more businesses go solar, save money, and save the planet!
About Susan Tanski
Susan Tanski is Co-founder and Head of Strategy for Sunstone Credit, a technology-enabled clean energy financing platform that helps businesses go solar. Susan has over 15 years of experience in financial services and climate technology, including at Sustainable Opportunities Acquisition Corp., Capital One and Goldman Sachs.
The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of AltEnergyMag
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