Clean Power Finance: Financing the Future of Residential Solar

Kristin Hoefer, SVP-Customer Solutions
The collapse in oil prices and heightened political uncertainty will continue to reverberate throughout the global economy. These forces are set to reinforce the divergent trends leading towards a bifurcated economy, with important implications for the capital market. Investment in renewable energy, especially in the residential solar domain, is one such trend that has a high impact on the capital market landscape. Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, Clean Power Finance (CPF) is driving the mass-market adoption of residential solar with an online platform that connects the capital markets with the solar industry, allowing investors and lenders to benefit from an attractive asset class without having to become solar sales or installation experts. “Many homeowners can reduce their electricity bills with solar energy. We help them do that by connecting companies that sell, install and finance residential solar. We make capital from investors and lenders available to our qualified channel partners—solar installers and marketers, as well as retail energy providers. Channel partners then offer that capital to homeowners as competitive residential solar finance products that include leases, loans and power purchase agreements (PPAs),” says Kirstin Hoefer, Senior Vice President, Customer Solutions, CPF. “The combination of software and financing unlocks a trillion-dollar market potential and drives immense growth and the benefits that capital markets demand from consumer finance products,” adds Kirstin.

CPF has helped numerous investors, including banks, corporations and electric power companies, to realize a high level return at a very low risk. Several investors had no prior experience with residential solar, but invested in this new market through CPF because of the company’s strong underwriting and capital deployment capabilities. “An example of this would be Credit Suisse, who launched a fund with us.
Their goal was to deploy a large amount of capital to ensure they would get a solid return in a number of years,” relates Kirstin. Credit Suisse has played a leading role in residential solar finance, investing hundreds of millions of dollars to date. It also led the first securitization of distributed solar energy assets, a landmark transaction that has paved the way for new sources of financing for residential solar. “Residential solar financing has become an attractive, mainstream asset class,” said Jerry Smith, managing director at Credit Suisse. “CPF’s platform allows us to focus on our core competency— financing—and connects us with a scalable network of qualified specialists who can efficiently deliver solar financing to consumers.”

CPF provides the residential solar industry with CPF Tools, an easy-to-use solar sales quoting and design software platform that helps solar professionals efficiently manage the entire sales process in a single online location. Qualified channel partners can also use CPF Tools to access to a variety of white-label residential finance products. “CPF Tools is a very powerful cloud-based online quoting tool through which a solar professional can access a number of different finance products and also upload all the necessary documents post-sale to complete the transaction,” explains Kirstin.

CPF has a configuration engine that churns out a software release every week and performs routine configurations. The software’s uptime compares favorably with Google’s uptime. The software offers sophisticated capabilities to solar salespeople, such as dynamic pricing changes, updated credit criteria, and automated utility rate calculations.

Residential solar in the U.S. is currently at less than two-percent total market penetration, so Kirstin sees tremendous opportuni ty in the future residential solar market. “We believe we are well-positioned with our product offering. After residential solar, we would also consider geographical expansion and broadening into other renewable energy financing,” concludes Kirstin.

Company
Clean Power Finance

Headquarters
San Francisco, CA

Management
Kristin Hoefer, SVP-Customer Solutions

Description
CPF’s fin-tech platform connects companies that sell, install and finance residential solar and makes it easy for investors and lenders to deploy capital in a fast-growing market