Clean Power Finance raises $37 million "C Round" finance

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Solar finance and software company CPF has confirmed the trend that downstream solar companies are more likely to attract investors, while photovoltaic hardware companies are (understandably) not, in its announcement of closing a new round of VC funding today. The investment will allow the company to continue rolling out its "white-label software and financial services" products.

In announcing the finance, CPF has highlighted revenue growth of 325% in 2012. CPF develops and licenses its solar sales software to installers. It can then offer PPAs or solar leases to households, through its platform. Third-party investors such as Google and Morgan Stanley finance the leases.

CPF claims that it is most significant that Edison International, which itself owns utility Southern California Edison, is investing in the company. In a statement to pv magazine, the company claims that utility holding companies are becoming more interested in solar and particularly residential solar. There were other utility investors in this round of financing that CPF was not allowed to name.

CPF says that solar leasing companies such as SunRun and SolarCity are competitors to utilities, while its service can allow utilities to enter the solar market. "The power company of the future will own both centralized generation and distributed generation (i.e. residential solar) assets," said CPF in its statement.

Bert Valdman from Edison International confirmed this in his statement announcing the investment. "We expect distributed solar to play a growing role in our energy future. CPF’s industry leadership makes it a natural investment in this rapidly expanding market."

Revenues are generated in the CPF business model by charging transaction fees, licensing its CPF Tools software and in asset management. CPF now manages more than $500 million in project financing.

CPF’s announced equity investors include Kleiner Perkings, Google Ventures and Claremont Creek Ventures. Hennessey Capital was one of the new investors in this round.