Clinton Initiative Boosts Solar Carports

Property assessed clean energy (PACE) solar financing has gone supernova. In fact, it’s caught the attention of a certain well-connected president.

The Clinton Global Initiative, with current commitments reportedly valued over $70 billion, has teamed with solar project financier Demeter Power Group to create what it’s calling the Feed-Out program, “the world’s first market-based, fixed-price funding program for solar and renewable technologies.” It’s a mouthful of marketing, sure, but the overall point is much more direct: By exploiting PACE bonds, which are collateralized by voluntary property taxes rather than traditional counterparties, CGI and Demeter are essentially financing free solar-powered carports for the future’s electrified fleets.

The only bad news is that you’ve got to be in Northern California to get one.

That’s because PACE is a municipal mechanism requiring approval from participating cities. The good news, as we reported last month, is that more and more municipal governments are joining in hopes of accelerating the national solar infrastructure. CGI and Demeter, which scored a $500,000 incubator award from the Department of Energy’s Sunshot Initiative, are looking toward progressive Northern California cities participating in California FIRST, which facilitates cheap financing for projects with a tangible public benefit.

Thanks to catastrophic climate change brought on by burning too many dirty fuels, public benefits these days don’t get much more tangible than solar and other cleantech.

“The Feed-Out Program will bring together independent power producers and financiers to enable the lowest-cost, fixed-price offering for renewable energy,” Demeter president and founder Michael Wallander explained in a statement. “But unlike other similar ‘feed-in-tariff’ programs, the energy will be used on the customer-side of the meter.”

Why carports? Perhaps because carports occupy around a third of the surface area of most United States cities, annually generating over $25 billion in revenue. Factor in efforts from Tesla Motors and others to electrify the nation’s cars, as well the $35 trillion needed for a clean energy infrastructure to reduce greenhouse gases 50 percent by 2050, and you’ve arrived at a no-brainer solution to solarize every parking lot in America — for cheap.

“We enable funding for solar-powered carports with electric vehicle charging stations at a net-negative cost to the customer,” Demeter co-founder Yann Brandt added. “What retail tenant or business owner would not want to save money on their energy bills while offering customers and employees the ability to shade their cars and power up with solar energy?”

This article appeared at Solar Energy