Solar buyback trend continues


Last week, pv magazine reported on renewable investment fund Solar Bay’s $350 million solar buyback initiative. Beginning with the 500 kW solar array atop Sydney’s International Convention Centre, Solar Bay is looking to buy up many more systems over the next three years. 

This week, Smart Commercial Solar (Smart) has partnered with non-for-profit Clear Sky Solar Investments (Clear Sky) to begin another widespread buyback initiative. Owners of commercial solar systems atop their roofs can hope to sell their systems for their paid value, if not more, and with the provision of free energy for six months followed by a rate cheaper than the utility price afterwards. 

For those in desperate need to unlock cash flow in these uncertain times, taking the weight off their heads might just prove all the difference. 

“We saw a huge demand for this and realised that the economics of commercial solar allow for a historic win-win in which businesses get needed cash while maintaining the benefits of cheap renewable energy,” said Huon Hoogesteger, founder of Smart Commercial Solar. “The community investors supplying the capital that supports the buyback get 7% return on their investment which is extremely attractive in a low-interest environment.” 

Smart and Clear Sky are offering to buy systems up to $2 million and if the system is under a year old the owner can expect to receive 105% of the paid value. The seller would then buy the energy generated afterwards from Smart and Clear Sky. 

Obviously, for those smart enough to install solar and begin earning its rewards, selling the asset would not be their first choice. However, at times when Covid-19 could be threatening the business itself, this opportunity could prove a useful escape rope. 

“If you are a business owner looking at the next 12 months and wondering how you will get through, this will go a long way to helping,” advises Hoogesteger, who sees buyback schemes as an important trend in the commercial solar industry. 

It sad evidence to the desperation of our times, but at least it shows that even an economic crisis cannot depreciate the value of rooftop solar. Solar Bay believes the demand for commercial buyback is so strong that almost a third of its $350 million mandate will be deployed over the next six months. 

For more information about the Smart and Clear Sky buyback, click here.

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