Partnership Helps California Businesses Achieve Solar Savings

OAKLAND, Calif. — Renew Financial, based in Oakland and SolarCity, based in San Mateo, Calif., have recently announced a partnership that creates financing options for small and medium-sized businesses. The partnership combines low-cost SolarCity-structured financing with Renew’s Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs through the CaliforniaFIRST program, according to an article by Green Building Elements.

CaliforniaFIRST allows commercial property owners to finance energy efficiency, renewable energy and water efficiency improvements for their businesses, according to the program’s website. Under the new offering with SolarCity and Renew Financial, a small business property owner signs a standard solar lease that would be paid back on the property tax bill as part of the CaliforniaFIRST program. The partnership makes solar leases available to thousands of small business owners who otherwise were challenged to secure competitive finance options. The program is expected to roll out beyond the California market in the near future, according to the article by Green Building Elements.

The reason this partnership is so impactful is because in the past it had been difficult for small business owners to finance these types of sustainable improvements since they typically do not have the formal investment grade credit ratings of large corporations. According to SolarCity, though, the partnership will make it possible for many small businesses to pay between five to 25 percent less for solar electricity than they pay for utility power, with no upfront cost, depending on their own utility costs and usage.

“When the CaliforniaFIRST program was launched a year ago, we had only a handful of contractors and we were working primarily in the Bay Area,” said Cisco DeVries, CEO of Renew Financial, in a statement. “Today, we offer financing to more than 70 percent of Californians through a network of more than 900 trained, participating contractors. Most importantly, we’ve helped thousands of California homeowners dramatically reduce their energy and water use with a simple financing solution for their home upgrades while helping the state meet its ambitious climate action goals.”

Today, more than 300 cities and counties across California have voted to join the CaliforniaFIRST program, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, San Jose and Sacramento, according to Green Building Elements.