The US Solar Energy Industries Association announced last week the launch of the SEIA Finance Initiative, intended to open investment and finance innovation.

Launched on September 11, the US Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) revealed that it would be launching the SEIA Finance Initiative to not only open investment and financial innovation in the US solar industry, but also “to focus that capability on historically underserved sectors of the solar economy.” Participation in the SEIA Finance Initiative will be open to all SEIA members and non-members as well from the get-go.

“The solar industry has set its own, independent goal of facilitating wide-scale investment from an array of low-cost sources of capital,” said Rhone Resch, SEIA President and CEO. “We believe this effort will culminate in greater manufacturing and deployment opportunities for solar technologies, and will be a boon for solar customers.”

Specifically, the SEIA Finance Initiative “aims to enable investment and pooling of solar cash flows into liquid, tradable securities investable by large-scale capital managers such as pension funds and others.” Furthermore, the SEIA Finance Initiative will attempt to work towards removing barriers that halt the development of solar adoption so as to accelerate such adoption. The SEIA provided the following example that exemplifies what they are trying to do:

“For example, a new solar project was installed in the U.S. last year every 2.5 minutes, with 63 percent of new capacity added in the utility-scale sector; 20 percent in residential; but only 17 percent in commercial systems. One key goal of the initiative is to drive up adoption in commercial markets.”

The SEIA Finance Initiative will focus on these three primary areas:

  • Outreach and collaboration with potential sources of investment and credit enhancement, including real estate investors and asset managers, capital markets, insurance, foundations, retail banks, specialty finance and various other stakeholder communities;
  • Opening untapped commercial markets, including multi-tenant retail, office and low-moderate income housing sectors for wide-scale solar deployment; and
  • Creation of financial innovations designed to leverage available credit enhancement and pool solar project cash flows for low-cost debt investment by pension funds and other large-scale capital managers.