North Bay Business Journal

Wednesday, August 13, 2014, 11:44 am

Ygrene raises $30 million in new funding

Money will be used to expand operations in California and Florida


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    SANTA ROSA — Ygrene Energy Fund, a Santa Rosa-based company that provides financing for clean energy projects, on Wednesday said it raised $30 million from Virgo Investment Group, based in Redwood Shores.

    Stacey Lawson, Ygrene CEO and president

    Stacey Lawson will lead Ygrene’s growth with $30 million in new funding.

    The money will be used to build Ygrene’s contractor network and expand nationally. The company, which already had projects totaling $100 million in process, will launch a new partnership with Atlanta, Georgia by the middle of 2015. “We have won the contract,” said Stacey Lawson, Ygrene’s CEO and president, in an interview Wednesday.

    Once Ygrene partners with a municipality, the city can use its tax authority to allow financing to ride with the property when it changes owners.

    “The Virgo investment demonstrates the power of our financing platform,” said Ms. Lawson.

    Ms. Lawson co-founded the Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology at the University of California, Berkeley, College of Engineering. She is one of the private investors, all in the North Bay, along with Dennis Hunter, who together put in about $15 million in self-funding for Ygrene to date, according to Lawson. The $30 million infusion triples the amount of capital the company has had available.

    Ygrene appointed Mike Cary as chief operating officer to steer the company’s growth. Mr. Cary was formerly president of CIT Home Lending. He will manage Ygrene’s marketing, loan origination, underwriting and funding.

    Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE, programs allow property owners to fund projects that improve energy-efficiency, save water and use renewables to generate energy. Projects may install “cool roofs,” which are insulated; energy-efficient windows, heating, cooling and hot-water systems; and solar power arrays.

    On some projects, funding covers 100 percent of costs. Repayment can be amortized over as many as 20 years, and the financing is bound to the property rather than the owner or business.

    Projects may be commercial or residential. The value must be at least $2,500, but there is no upper limit.

    Ygrene has a contract with the city of Sacramento to administer its PACE program for a $3.1 million Metro Center renovation. The company creates customized programs for each clean energy district it serves. With satellite offices in Sacramento, Palm Springs, Chula Vista and Miami, Ygrene targets customers primarily in California and Florida, and has more than 200 projects underway.

    Ygrene has 32 employees, with about 15 in its Santa Rosa office.

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