Introduction to Commercial Solar Finance for CDFIs – Part I
This program has been developed by the Inclusiv Center for Resiliency and Clean Energy and the University of New Hampshire Carsey School of Public Policy Center for Impact Finance, and is available to you free of charge with major funding from the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office.
CDFIs can help to bring solar energy to communities through a variety of project finance strategies – including community solar, commercial and multifamily project finance, municipal and other public projects, and financing for installers who offer solar leasing or power purchase agreements to end users. These strategies can be one of the lowest-cost ways to serve a greater number of low-income consumers, because they often achieve better economies of scale than individual residential projects, avoid the property-related challenges that inhibit access to solar by low-income families for their own homes, and more efficiently use the Solar Investment Tax Credit and other financing and incentive programs that reduce the cost of solar energy to end users but require for-profit, commercial scale. However, these projects also typically involve complex financial structuring and negotiation, larger dollar amounts, a more expansive and nuanced evaluation of risk, and a more complicated regulatory environment.
Even if your financial institution is not yet able to be the lead expert in structuring complex deals like these, it can play a variety of other roles, including participating in larger project financings, helping small businesses go solar through their traditional lending products, servicing solar leases, and providing outreach and counseling to help their customers access solar energy at the most affordable price. This training is designed to help community-based lenders prepare for these kinds of roles, while helping them understand the other players who will be involved and the kind of financing they will bring to a project’s capital stack.
This training offers you the opportunity to learn about:
- the basics of solar energy and how it fits into the larger context of our energy system,
- the embedded inequities in our energy system and the racial and energy injustices being experienced across the country,
- why CDFIs are well-suited to bring the benefits of solar energy to communities that have been largely left out of the clean energy transition to date, including Native American communities,
- today’s market and economy for solar power
- relevant solar policies, including how the Inflation Reduction Act is transforming the solar industry
Meet the Trainer
Clay Mitchell, Esq PhD
Clay is a graduate of Vermont Law School where he earned his JD and Master’s in Environmental Law. His doctorate in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies is from the University of New Hampshire. He lives in Asheville NC now and works for the City of Asheville.
Clay has worked with local governments in New Hampshire in the land use planning and energy fields. He is a founding partner of Revolution Energy LLC, a company that has participated at the local and state level in developing projects (13 projects with over 4 mw of capacity installed in solar PV, thermal and CHP) and policies that contribute to economic sustainability and secure energy resources for clients in the public and private sectors.
He has served as the Policy Director at the NH Sustainable Energy Association as well as past president of the Board. He has also served on the Board of the NH Community Development Finance Authority.