Nonprofit financing solutions for solar deployment in the Southeast

 

Convergence Solar Initiative is a nonprofit 501-(c)(3) organization dedicated to increasing funding for solar energy in the Southeast United States, focusing primarily on schools, nonprofits, and affordable housing. We partner with philanthropic foundations to provide low-cost capital to finance roof- or ground-mounted solar arrays, allowing organizations to have access to clean energy generated onsite.

Recent legislation in Georgia allows for the use of third-party financing agreements known as Solar Energy Procurement Agreements (SEPAs). These agreements make it possible for solar arrays to be installed at no upfront cost to the customer, who in turn agrees to buy the energy produced at a predetermined price. This arrangement puts solar energy within reach of many more customers who previously could not afford it.

 
Financing is often the largest impediment to the success of a solar project.
 

Our partnerships with philanthropic foundations allow for a unique source of capital in the form of Program-Related Investments (PRIs). Through the use of PRIs, foundations may make low-interest loans to help capitalize a solar project. Once the solar array is in operation, the PRI is then repaid over the life of the array. This strategic use of PRIs and SEPAs has several key benefits:

  1. Allows philanthropic foundations to safely partake in the shift to clean energy while "recycling" their asset base
  2. Allows solar developers, sponsors, and EPCs to access lower-cost and more varied sources of capital
  3. Allows under-served customers who cannot monetize the Federal ITC to realize the benefits of solar energy at no upfront cost
 
Georgia is on the cusp of an energy revolution.
Convergence Solar Initiative is helping drive sensible and innovative solutions to finance that revolution.