Making Distributed Solar More Competitive with Grid Power
Clean Power Finance, the online marketplace for residential solar financing and leading provider of solar sales software, has been awarded two grants from the Department of Energy (DOE) as part of the SunShot Initiative. The grants, announced today at the DOE’s SunShot Initiative Summit in Denver, Colo., support Clean Power Finance’s efforts to build software platforms that reduce the “soft costs” of solar to make distributed solar more competitive with traditional grid power.
The first grant, for $500,000, will help Clean Power Finance build an online marketplace for operations and maintenance (O&M) services on installed photovoltaic solar systems. The marketplace will allow interested residential solar system owners (particularly third-party financiers) to tap into a pool of service providers who can perform ongoing O&M operations on the systems. By enabling a variety of vendors to bid on repair and maintenance jobs for installed solar systems, the marketplace will ensure that price, quality and speed of O&M servicing remains competitive and accessible. Clean Power Finance and the DOE have agreed to a 12-month deadline for project completion. The total project cost is $1 million: Clean Power Finance will provide the remaining $500,000.
“Market-based access to ongoing O&M for installed solar systems is a precondition to widespread investor and consumer acceptance of solar as an asset class,” said Clean Power Finance Senior Director of Government Programs Management James Tong. “We believe this O&M marketplace will help convince more finance providers to invest in solar by offering access to an extensive community of reliable, competent O&M contractors to care for systems at a market-based price.”
The second grant, for $1MM, will help fund an online brokerage for solar companies. The goal of the project is to help interested solar installers access marketing and sales services from companies that specialize in finding end consumers in different geographical areas during different times of the year. Marketing and sales specialists are often limited by the installation capacity and geographical coverage of installation crews; installers are often limited by their sales and marketing capacity to generate project flows at the right time, in the right geographical area. This brokerage will help both sides efficiently connect with one another, focus on their core competencies and enable exchanges between them that will drive growth for both. The total project cost is $2.2MM, of which Clean Power Finance will invest $1.2MM. The DOE and Clean Power Finance have set a maximum timeline of 18 months for project development and rollout.
“Specialization is a prerequisite for the economies of scale we need to make solar affordable and widely available,” said Tong. “With the option of sourcing other services from independent companies to supplement their own activities as needed, solar installers can focus on what they do best and scale their operations to meet U.S. homeowners’ increasing demand for solar.”
In addition to the two grants announced today, Clean Power Finance received a $3MM SunShot grant last fall for its ongoing project to build a free, open-source, nationwide database of solar permitting requirements and software tools to streamline complex and time-consuming permitting processes. The DOE has identified installation, design and permitting for solar energy systems as one of the SunShot program’s four areas of focus. Aggregating permitting requirements, documents and procedures in a single database will dramatically improve time and cost savings for solar professionals and help lower the overall installed cost of solar.
“We’ve already developed the industry’s most popular solar design and sales software, and with these three projects, we’re putting our expertise into developing resources to help all companies that sell solar be more profitable and efficient,” said Adam Marsh, CTO and co-founder of Clean Power Finance. “Our business model is predicated on the success of the entire residential solar industry, so we’re a natural choice to address major industry pain points.”
Clean Power Finance CEO Nat Kreamer is participating in the SunShot Initiative Summit on Thursday, June 14, at 1 p.m. MT as a judge for the “Developing Big & Small Ideas: How Can We Lower the Costs of Project Finance to Achieve Our 2020 Vision?” session.
About Clean Power Finance
Clean Power Finance is driving the mass-market adoption of residential solar by building an online business-to-business marketplace to connect the solar industry and the capital markets. Clean Power Finance provides solar professionals, including marketers, installers, manufacturers and distributors, with access to a variety of non-exclusive, white-label residential finance products and an easy-to-use solar sales quoting and design tool. The company’s transparent pricing makes it easy for financial firms and lenders to invest in residential solar projects that provide reliable rates of return. Founded in 2007, Clean Power Finance is venture backed by Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers (KPCB), Google Ventures, Claremont Creek Ventures, Clean Pacific Ventures and Sand Hill Angels. To learn more about how Clean Power Finance can accelerate the growth of solar businesses, please visit www.cleanpowerfinance.com .
About the SunShot Initiative
The SunShot Initiative is a collaborative national effort to make solar energy cost competitive with other forms of energy by the end of the decade. Inspired by President Kennedy’s “Moon Shot” program that put the first man on the moon, the SunShot Initiative has created new momentum for the solar industry by highlighting the need for American competitiveness in the clean energy race.
SOURCE: Clean Power Financeasset class, consumer acceptance, denver colo, online brokerage, operations and maintenance, solar systems, suntech solar panels
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