For the sixth time, U.S. Bancorp has put up major funding to partner with SolarCity in the rapidly expanding third-party ownership sector of the rooftop solar PV business.
“It speaks volumes about the value of investing in solar,” noted SolarCity spokesperson Jonathan Bass about U.S. Bancorp’s re-investment. This funding, the bank’s largest in its three-year relationship with the solar provider, is enough to finance as much as $250 million in PV projects for residences, businesses and public buildings.
“Each fund has a different mix of tax equity, potentially some debt, and corporate equity from SolarCity in some cases,” Bass explained. “All the fund structures are different,” he added, and specifics “are proprietary.”
This $250 million will be “only solar,” Bass said, and will not go to SolarCity’s newer home energy efficiency retrofits. “The fund is somewhat unique,” he said, “in that it can finance residential projects, projects for small and large businesses, and municipal government projects.” Such versatility, Bass added, will allow a wide range of people to take advantage of solar’s value proposition.
Often, such funds focus on a single sector, Bass said. “Our fund with Google was just for homeowners. And we recently did a fund with Rabobank that was just for commercial projects.”
The new U.S. Bancorp fund will go to PV projects that “will mostly be deployed this year.”
Newly released numbers from Greentech Media Research on the U.S. solar industry’s first quarter in 2012 show the industry growing at an 85 percent year-on-year clip. “They’re exciting,” Bass said of the numbers. “They show growth in every segment of the industry. And this U.S. Bancorp deal shows that private capital continues to flow into the space.”