EnSync Energy recently announced the sale of a project under a 20-year power purchase agreement with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection to Standard Solar, a company which specializes in the development and financing of solar power systems. Under the agreement, EnSync Energy is constructing a 600-kilowatt solar installation at the CAL FIRE training facility in Ione, California.
Scott Wiater, president and CEO of Standard Solar, answered some questions for Solar Love.
1. How did the arrangement with CAL FIRE come about?
Standard Solar works with an extensive network of developers and installers throughout the entire country. The Cal Fire project was brought to us from one of our channel partners.
2. When will the solar power system be completed and become operational?
The system is expected to be fully constructed and operational by the end of the year.
3. How do you help finance solar power projects?
Standard Solar is able to support with financing in a wide variety of ways depending on the stage of the solar project development. For example, on early stage project developments, we can work with partners to craft the ideal financing proposal for the host-customer and fund every step of the way through to construction and operation. We also come across late-stage projects that are fully contracted with host-customers and in many cases under construction. In these situations, Standard Solar can provide financing to acquire the solar project facility and serve as the long-term owner/operator of the system. Because Standard Solar is utilizing in-house funds, it provides us the flexibility to focus on providing value throughout the full range of the solar project development cycle.
4. Are you working on other solar power development projects in CA?
Yes, given that California continues to be the leading solar market in the US, our focus on increasing our operational footprint in the California market remains a top company priority. We have more than 100 MWs of projects under evaluation, in active development, or under construction in the California market.
5. What is the company roadmap for the next 3–5 years?
Our goal over the next 3-5 years will be continuing to identify and execute on renewable projects that will allow our parent company to diversify their generating asset mix that deliver a healthy return on investment. We have dedicated capital resources that exceed $600 million which can be increased should the demand for financing exceed this amount.
6. Why is providing a range of financing for solar power projects important, and is it even more so right now due to the economic and policy conditions?
Solar projects are a lot like fingerprints — each one is unique. To be a strong player in the solar industry, you have to be able to reach your clients where they are, whether that’s through a loan, a lease, a power-purchase agreement (PPA) or some other creative financing deal. Being a one-size-fits-all financing institution isn’t going to lead to success. And with today’s tumultuous economic and policy conditions, flexibility is paramount if you want to make sure you get projects done and get them done in ways that are financially advantageous to everyone involved.
7. What are some other new projects you are working on right now you are excited about?
Right now, we are most excited about our expansion into new states and emerging markets (we are now contracted, constructing, or operational in over a dozen states). Our competitive financing coupled with our channel partnership approach allows us to remove regional market barriers and widen our pool of renewable asset opportunities.