Connecticut’s Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA) closed on a $60 million deal on Friday that will finance leases for over 2,000 rooftop solar systems for residential and commercial customers. CEFIA contributed $9.5 million to the deal, which attracted more than $50 million from private banks including US Bancorp, First Niagara Financial Group, and a number of local and regional firms.
Like any traditional residential rooftop solar PV lease model, CEFIA’s Solar Lease II enables the green bank to act as an aggregator, pooling many smaller leases in order to take advantage of federal incentives such as the investor tax credit and accelerated depreciation. In this case, US Bank will provide upfront capital as tax equity and receive the 30% ITC as part of its payment. CEFIA also provides a credit enhancement by using public funds as a loan loss reserve for senior debt providers. CEFIA’s Solar Lease II is an excellent example of how a green bank can leverage scarce public resources to attract the maximum amount of private capital into the renewable energy industry.
Another unique aspect of the program is the insurance package offered under the Assurant Warranty Management and Insurance Plan. The insurance deal bundles property, casualty, and liability insurance. Unlike many insurance plans and warranties, the insurance package incorporated into the Solar Lease II will extend for the entire 20-year lease period.
By offering a financing alternative to solar leases from industry leaders such as SolarCity and SunPower, the deal is expected to boost competition and reduce the cost of solar systems. The green bank has approved about 40 smaller companies to use the financing that the state has made available. CEFIA hopes that the increased competition will ultimately drive down costs and make solar more accessible to a wider range of homeowners and businesses.
CGC is proud of CEFIA’s hard work and looks forward to seeing the results of this great new Solar PV Program!