Secure Futures Solar has signed an agreement with Alerion RE, LLC, to provide up to $25 million in equity financing to develop, own and operate solar power projects in Virginia, West Virginiaand North Carolina. Solar projects will include K-12 public schools, colleges and universities, hospitals and local government facilities.
Prior to obtaining project financing from Alerion, Secure Futures had to seek capital for each new solar project from a variety of sources, which often delayed project construction. Funding with Alerion will greatly shorten the development cycle from years to months.
“We can now compress the timeline to provide on-site solar power to customers in education, healthcare and local government,” said Dr. Tony Smith, President and Founder of Secure Futures. “We are pleased that Alerion has recognized the potential for commercial solar projects in sunny southeastern states that have recently removed legal barriers to making solar power affordable.”
States in the U.S. Southeast are poised for growth in solar capacity over the next five years. Distributed commercial-scale solar power has been enabled by new state laws that allow customers to obtain solar energy systems with no upfront capital cost through power purchase agreements (PPAs) and service agreements with solar developers like Secure Futures.
With 2,546 megawatts in total solar generating capacity installed, Virginia currently ranks 11th nationwide and is projected to add 6,454 MW over the next five years, rising to 4th place among U.S. states, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. West Virginia currently ranks 50th nationwide, with 12.5 MW of solar generating capacity but is expected to add another 249 MW over the coming five years, rising to 46th place, according to SEIA. North Carolina has installed 7,132 MW of solar capacity, currently ranking the state 3rd nationally. In a competitive national market for solar power, the state’s ranking is projected to fall to 10th place in five years, but North Carolina will still add another 2,993 MW in solar capacity over that period, according to SEIA.
Commercial solar power in Virginia was given a boost when power purchase agreements were legalized in most parts of the state in 2020. A similar boost for commercial solar is now expected in West Virginia, after the state legalized PPAs in May, 2021. PPAs are not yet allowed in North Carolina, but solar equipment leasing has been legal since 2018. State regulators have approved Secure Futures to offer a variation on a lease that provides many of the same benefits to a commercial solar customer as a PPA.
Once Secure Futures exhausts the $25 million in funding, Alerion has the option to make additional equity contributions to support additional projects.
“Coming in to projects with financing in advance at the favorable terms provided by Alerion will also allow Secure Futures to offer the most competitive rates on PPAs and service agreements to our customers, providing the best value on solar power,” said Smith.
GreeneHurlocker PLC represented Secure Futures in the transaction. GreenFront Energy Partners served as Secure Futures’ exclusive financial advisor, performing investment banking and advisory work to support the capital raise. GreenFront is an independent investment banking and advisory firm based in Richmond, Va, focused on the new energy economy.
“GreenFront team members were great to work with throughout our capital search process, and in securing and negotiating with the right investment partner to support our growth trajectory. We could not have imagined better teaming or investment partners,” said Smith.