NREL Industry Group to explore solar lending potential.

Press Release Summary:



NREL recently convened the Banking on Solar working group, which comprises more than 50 members representing solar, banking, legal, regulatory, and financial industries, among others. Group's principal efforts center on standardizing contracts and underwriting processes, as well as educating banks and regulators about risks and rewards of solar asset class. Goal is to reduce barriers to entry for banks that wish to diversify their asset base and invest in a market with high growth potential.



Original Press Release:



NREL Assembles Industry Group to Explore Solar Lending Potential



Increasingly, banks, credit unions, and other lenders are beginning to offer loan products to homeowners and businesses for the installation of rooftop solar systems. However, barriers to accessing this growing market still remain. The Energy Department's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently convened the Banking on Solar working group to engage lenders and other stakeholders to address these barriers.



Banking on Solar comprises more than 50 members representing the solar, banking, legal, regulatory, and financial industries, among others. The group's principal efforts center on standardizing contracts and underwriting processes, as well as educating banks and regulators about the risks and rewards of the solar asset class. The goal is to reduce barriers to entry for banks that wish to diversify their asset base and invest in a market with high growth potential.



"There are many states where third-party finance is unavailable and there are solar customers who may prefer to own their systems over leasing them," said NREL Analyst Travis Lowder. "A greater prevalence and diversity of loan products could enable higher rates of solar adoption in these markets."



The working group has already begun developing standardized loan documents and underwriting criteria in the residential and commercial markets. Other solar debt markets, such as lending into tax equity capital structures, are also under consideration.



The Banking on Solar working group is operating in parallel with the SunShot Initiative-funded, NREL-led Solar Access to Public Capital (SAPC) working group. SAPC is designed to facilitate capital market investment via securitization.



"The two initiatives are complementary, as securitization offers banks an opportunity to free up their balance sheets and expand their loan activities," Lowder said. "The knowledge gained from quantifying solar risks under the SAPC mock ratings process is highly relevant to solar lenders."



The effort is supported by the Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy through the SunShot Initiative. Banking on Solar will host several webinars in the months ahead to introduce banks to the solar asset class. The group will also have a presence at several upcoming banking conferences around the United States. For more information on this group and its activities, please send an email to travis.lowder@nrel.gov.



Banking on Solar participants include:

Admirals Bank

AFC First Financial Corporation

American Bankers Association

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Blank Rome LLP

Bloc Power

Bridge Bank

Callahan & Associates

Capital City Bank

Capital Fusion Partners

Citi

City University of New York

Clean Fund

CleanPath

Clean Power Finance

The Climate Bonds Initiative

Coalition for Green Capital

Community Development Financial Institutions Fund

Congressional Bank

Connecticut Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority

Digital Federal Credit Union

DLA Piper

Energi

Energy Programs Consortium

Energy Sense Finance

Enphase

Environmental Defense Fund

Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance

Harcourt Brown & Carey

HelioPower

Independent Community Bankers of America

Kilowatt Financial

K&L Gates LLP

Latham & Watkins LLP

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

LendKey Technologies

M-Core Credit Corporation

McHenry Savings Bank

MJM Consulting

Mosaic National Cooperative Bank

Nautilus Solar

New York Green Bank

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority

NextEra Energy

OneRoof Energy

Patton Boggs

PNC

R&R Consulting

Rabobank

Renovate America Inc.

Rocky Mountain Institute

Sandia National Labs

Self Help Credit Union

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher, & Flom LLP

SolarCity

Solar Energy Industries Association

Sungage Financial

SunPower

U.S. Bancorp

VectraBank

Wiser Capital

Zions Energy Link



NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for the Energy Department by The Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.



Visit NREL online at www.nrel.gov



Media may contact:

Heather Lammers

303-275-4084

heather.lammers@nrel.gov

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