New Solar Program Offers Millions to Affordable Housing

Richmond, California (EastBayDaily) — The CA Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is officially launching the latest CA Solar Initiative (CSI) program on March 29. The new program provides $25 million in increased solar water heating incentives for affordable housing in California. The launch of the program could not be more timely, given the recent dissolution of the Community Redevelopment Agency – a major source of funding for affordable housing in California.

In announcing the program last fall, Utility Commissioner Timothy Alan Simon said he supports the decision to implement the low income solar water heating incentive program because solar water heaters are cost effective, and “the fuel they use – sunshine – is free. This allows us to achieve our goals of delivering cost effective energy savings to low income customers.” CPUC President Michael R. Peevey stated that the program of increased incentives “will help ease the financial burden on low income customers.”

With the program’s official launch today, solar water heating incentives for affordable housing will be higher than they’ve ever been. Qualifying multifamily homes will be eligible for 150% of the top-tier CSI incentive levels for solar thermal, with up to $500,000 available per property.

But incentives are only half the story. Solar systems need to be installed before a building can qualify for them, which either means a large capital outlay for buying the system, or finding the right financing. Until recently, these have been significant market barriers, and a major reason the solar hot water market has lagged behind the solar electric market – despite the fact that solar water heating is up to 4x more efficient.

Now one company is offering a solution. Promise Energy was founded to overcome the primary barriers to wider adoption of solar water heating, and work with affordable housing owners to help them access these millions of dollars in government incentive checks.

Headquartered in a historic warehouse in Richmond, CA, Promise Energy has developed an integrated approach to the market that reduces costs by leveraging partnerships with top equipment manufacturers, system designers and a network of certified installers. Combined with Promise Energy’s full-service financing and the new incentive program, the company can now offer qualified affordable housing projects solar hot water for no money down, saving them thousands of dollars a year on gas utility bills.

“We want to help affordable housing organizations in California reduce their operating costs and increase their property values by claiming these unprecedented incentives for going solar,” said Charlie Kuffner, VP of Operations for Promise Energy. “Promise is one of the largest purchasers of solar water heating equipment in the country. By combining bulk purchasing power with solar financing expertise, we can help hundreds of affordable housing projects start saving immediately with no money down.”

Backed by the financial resources and expertise of leading clean energy finance company Adam Capital, Promise Energy has the ability to fund up to 500 multifamily projects in California. Adam Boucher, President of Promise Energy and CEO of Adam Capital, said, “Promise Energy is ideally suited to serve non-profit affordable housing developers because we can monetize a project’s tax incentives and pass the savings on to them. We provide a simple, turnkey solution so property owners and tenants can save money, while we take care of the rest.”

“This market has had difficulty growing in the past due to lack of financing and high costs,” adds Boucher. “By overcoming these challenges, we can create green jobs for U.S. manufacturers and contractors, generate millions of therms in energy savings, and reduce energy bills for struggling Californians. The result is a win for the economy and the environment. We applaud the CPUC for launching this program, it couldn’t come at a better time.”

About Promise Energy, LLC: Promise Energy LLC, is a full-service solar hot water and efficiency provider dedicated to bringing affordable housing the benefits of solar savings with no money down. Founded by the leadership team at Adam Capital Inc. to overcome market barriers in solar hot water, Promise Energy combines standardized system design and no-money-down financing to provide qualified building owners a turnkey solution to saving money with solar water heating. We’ve partnered with leading suppliers, experienced system design engineers, and a growing network of licensed solar hot water installers, to give building owners top-tier, Made-in-America compliant solar equipment. With our full-service financing packages, Promise Energy owns and operates the system for 20+ years, providing building owners and tenants long-term energy savings with no capital outlay or maintenance expense. It’s never been easier to go green with solar hot water and start saving today.

About Adam Capital, Inc.: Utilizing senior-secured debt as our primary lending strategy, Adam Capital has become a leader in funding clean energy projects. We specialize in financing, constructing, owning and operating clean energy assets with longterm cashflows. Adam Capital was one of the first asset-based lenders in the country to leverage ITC cash grant payments and other local incentive rebates as collateral, and we continue to be an innovator in rooftop-scale clean energy finance. We have committed funding to over 1000 rooftop solar projects in multiple states and utility districts, serving the needs of individuals, schools, non-profits, and businesses. With the launch of Promise Energy, we are bringing our proven success and expertise to the commercial solar hot water market.

About the CSI Thermal Low-Income Program for Solar Water Heating: The CSI-Thermal Low-Income Program allocates $25 million to promote the installation of solar water heating (SWH) systems on qualifying low-income single-family and multifamily residences. The CSI-Thermal Low-Income Program is set to begin accepting applications March 29, 2012. The program is intended to promote the installation of gas-displacing solar water heating systems on qualifying low-income single-family and multifamily residences through a program of direct financial incentives. Multifamily applicants can qualify for incentives up to $500,000.


Andrew Mannle
Promise Energy