SONOMA – As quickly as solar technology moves forward, solar investors are filling niches where capital is needed.
Adam Capital, recently arrived in Sonoma from Arizona, bridges the gap between developers of small commercial projects and housing tracts and the investment capital to get solar installed.
[caption id="attachment_18861" align="alignleft" width="108" caption="Adam Boucher moved Adam Capital from Arizona to Sonoma, ‘the heart of the solar industry.’"][/caption]
"Traditionally this is a difficult market to capitalize," said Adam Boucher, founder and CEO of Adam Capital.
"Banks are unwilling to loan on green technology, and the rebates and tax incentives offered by the state and federal governments don't activate until the installation is complete. What's missing is a short-term phase to get the systems built."
The company loans against credits and rebates offered by the federal government and the states of California and Arizona available for renewable-energy production.
He researched the field and set up his investment model several years ago, slightly ahead of its time, when investment capital was pretty much limited to large projects.
"In Arizona, the rebate and tax incentive programs are not as mature as they are in California, nor are the utilities as enlightened. When you add up investment tax credit grants and local rebates from PG&E, we can often provide 100 percent or more of the cost of a renewable-energy project."
Adam Capital limits its loans to $250,000 to $3 million, and the size of the installation to less than 200 kilowatts.
"Larger installations rebate through operation, but 200kw projects are rebated in cash. That suits our model of an early exit," he said.
Adam Capital targets developers of commercial and residential projects, not residents. Very few of his customers utilize the energy independence program in effect in Sonoma County, where energy upgrades can be paid off along with property taxes.
"Our challenge is to educate developers about using investors such as ourselves to add value to their properties," said Mr. Boucher.
To that end, Adam Capital is planning a Solar Finance Summit, a series of seminars to help developers maximize income and shorten time frames during solar projects, "or wind, or solar thermal or other incentivized upgrades to renewable," he said.
He's also talking with potential solar integrator partners, including Sequoia Solar, which just opened a branch in Santa Rosa.
"Most integrators know that commercial projects produce more revenue than residential, but there has been a gap between the two, with the larger projects approaching utility scale. That gap is widening," said Mr. Boucher.
Adam Capital recently closed loan agreements for two projects in California and Arizona totaling $1.8 million.
Go Solar in San Francisco – not related or similar to Go Solar Marin or Go Solar Sonoma – will use the capital to build 50 residential solar systems in low-income households in Southern California. The loan to Arizona-based Solar Solutions will fund the installation of five or more residential solar electric PV systems in the Phoenix area.
For more information, visit www.adamcapital.com.