Crowd-Financing Solar for Nonprofits Serving Low-Income Communities

Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Nonprofit community service providers that serve low-income communities have faced challenges in financing solar for their own facilities. These organizations’ lack of credit history, potentially unreliable revenue, and inability to take advantage of tax credits and accelerated depreciation can make traditional solar financing models a poor fit.

One answer that has emerged is “crowd-funding,” in which many individuals each provide a small amount of money for a project. Crowd-funding can involve donations, or it can involve investments, in which the individuals who participate expect a financial return.

In this webinar, Andreas Karelas, the Executive Director of RE-volv, and Todd Bluechel, the Vice President of Marketing and Sales at CollectiveSun, presented two models that rely on crowd-funding to enable nonprofits to adopt solar. Mr. Karelas discussed RE-volv’s model, which allows for crowd-sourced donations. Mr. Bluechel discussed “CrowdLending,” one of CollectiveSun’s financing options that facilitates loans to fund solar projects after tax credits have been applied. Their presentations were followed by a Q&A with the audience.

This is one in a series of webinars presented by the Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA) as part of the Sustainable Solar Education Project on bringing the benefits of solar to low-income residents. The Sustainable Solar Education Project, funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, is helping state and municipal officials to ensure distributed solar electricity is equitable and consumer friendly.