Thursday, July 14, 2011

Investing in Solar: The Solar CD

The previous article I posted was on solar bonds issued by an Ontario, Canada cooperative.  This model could be viable in Colorado, due to a broad exemption for securities issued by co-ops.  This can help finance solar garden subscriptions for low and moderate income individuals.  (Not coincidentally, our group is in the process of starting a cooperative).

As we approach grid parity, it seems likely we will likely see more solar-backed financial instruments.

Here's what a Virginia company has done in partnership with their local credit union.  They are offering an above-market rate to their CD customers and a below-market rate to finance solar arrays.  I believe this model could be replicated just about everywhere, given willing credit unions.


Secure Futures LLC, developer of the 104 kW solar energy system at Eastern Mennonite University, today announced that it has closed a $110,000 loan backed entirely by the nation’s first ever “Solar Certificate of Deposit.”

Sold through Park View Federal Credit Union, based in Harrisonburg, funds collected by the Solar CDs will secure a $110,000 loan from Park View to Community Solar LLC, a subsidiary of Secure Futures that operates the array of 328 photovoltaic panels hosted at EMU, the largest solar energy system in the state of Virginia.

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New Resource Bank in California offers a similar program.  It has a $25,000 minimum deposit (let me check my pockets!)

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