Direct Energy, SolarCity launch $124 million solar fund

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Direct Energy and SolarCity have launched an investment fund capable of financing up to $124 million in solar projects for Direct Energy’s commercial and industrial customers. Direct Energy is partially bankrolling the fund with up to $50 million.

Through the arrangement, eligible Direct Energy commercial and industrial customers will be able to receive solar power with little or no upfront cost, depending on the customer’s choice of plans.

Direct Energy will give customers a choice to pre-pay for their solar electricity or pay a monthly payment, with installation, insurance, repairs and monitoring service included.

"Solar energy’s use of free, abundant sunlight and rapidly falling technology and operations costs have made it cost-competitive with power generated from fossil fuels in a growing number of markets nationwide," SolarCity said in a statement, adding that its "vertically integrated service model, combined with Direct Energy’s energy expertise, North American footprint, customer relationships and financial stability are attractive to customers in a fragmented solar market."

Mike Senff, head of U.S. sales, marketing and 360Direct for Direct Energy Business, added, "Solar is a viable opportunity that positions Direct Energy Business as a total energy management service provider for commercial and industrial customers. Solar complements Direct Energy Business’ other product offerings while supporting our customers’ corporate sustainability goals."

Jimmy Chuang, vice president of structured finance for SolarCity, said, "This unique relationship demonstrates how traditional energy companies and renewable energy companies can work together to make clean energy more accessible and affordable. Direct Energy is giving business and industrial customers direct access to cheaper, cleaner energy. SolarCity gains an important new avenue to provide its groundbreaking services to businesses at a lower cost."

One of the U.S.’s leading full-service solar power providers, SolarCity boasts more than 68,000 customers across 14 states, including more than 1,000 commercial and government customers. SolarCity has created 28 investment funds to date.

Direct Energy Business serves commercial and industrial customers in 14 states, the District of Columbia and five Canadian provinces, providing electricity and natural gas supply and energy management services to more than 180,000 customers. Direct Energy Business is part of Direct Energy, North America’s largest competitive retail energy supplier, with more than six million customers across the continent.