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Sun Shines on Private Solar Financing in New Orleans

Bill DiBenedetto | Friday November 4th, 2011 | 0 Comments

Adam Capital Clean Energy Finance, a private investment firm, has agreed to lend $1 million to finance rooftop solar panels for 85 low-income homes in New Orleans.

The loan is with Sustainable Environmental Enterprises of Louisiana, a community-development organization engaged in financing solar projects for disadvantaged communities.

A joint press release from Adam Capital and SEE said that following Hurricane Katrina, “the State of Louisiana recognized the important role solar power can play in making communities less vulnerable to extreme weather events. The state has offered premium solar incentives to help rebuild communities like New Orleans, but local homeowners and organizations have struggled to secure financing.”

Adam Capital, based in Sonoma, CA, provides investment capital for clean energy projects. It is one company that helps to the fill the funding gap in the solar financing market, especially for low and moderate income households that otherwise could not afford to access solar technology.

“With this program we’re taking what was considered a luxury good – solar power – and bringing it to the people who need it most,” says Adam Boucher, CEO of Adam Capital. “We’ve financed solar for schools, churches, and businesses, but we’re especially thrilled to be part of rebuilding New Orleans as a safer, more sustainable city.”

The solar financing under the SEE program will allow people on fixed incomes to get fixed energy costs. Through affordable solar leases they can lock in lower-than-utility rates for many years.

In addition, customers with medical needs can finance battery systems to provide backup power during storms or power outages for up to three days. SEE has also negotiated unique insurance packages specifically for its customers to cover the full replacement cost of panels damaged or destroyed by storms.

Given the historic population of homes in New Orleans, in many cases these solar panels will actually improve the quality of customer’s roofs, SEE said.

Lea Keal, CEO of SEE says, “This loan allows us to expand our programs serving communities of color, and low to moderate income homeowners. There is a very real need in this community, but we didn’t have the dollars to serve this constituency until now. Thanks to Adam Capital, we’re literally leveling the playing field so the green revolution doesn’t pass by communities disadvantaged by lower incomes.”

If nine out of 10 Americans want more solar energy, according to a recent survey from Kelton Research, then it will take public and private investment partnerships to make it happen for everyone, panel by panel, locality by locality, regardless of income.

[Image credit: rooftop solar via Flickr creative commons]


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