December 2, 2011 source: GreenTech Media
At the end of 2010, Clean Power Finance (CPF) CEO Nat Kreamer and a group of the biggest names in greentech venture capital, including Kleiner Perkins and Google, decided to take the company to the next level.
CPF was founded in 2007 as an online tool to connect solar buyers and sellers with financial products and help them design solar systems. By 2010, it had 800 solar businesses, including marquee names like Suntech, BP Solar and Real Good Solar, as customers. Forty percent of all residential and small- and medium-sized commercial solar sold used the CPF software platform.
White-label financing in the software package offered solar business customers the ability to make available, under their own brands, the full range of financing options to solar system buyers, from leases and power purchase agreements to loans and tax credits.
“The company worked for four years to develop the software,” Kreamer said, “and grow its customer base.” While perfecting its tool “to design, quote and propose solar,” the company was accruing an enormous database, from the price and amount customers pay for electricity to the cost and performance of their solar systems.
As a result, Kreamer said, “we really get solar, we really get software, and we really get finance.”
Equally importantly, Kreamer said, the CPF deal flow is voluminous.
In December 2010, with backing from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Google Ventures, as well as Claremont Creek Ventures, Sand Hill Angels, and Clean Pacific Ventures, Clean Power Finance added solar financing to its CPF 2.0 software tool.
“We remained in stealth mode through summer 2011,” Kreamer said, while perfecting the software and securing “third-party investors who wanted to 100-percent own residential solar systems and offer power purchase agreements and leases.”
With the tool, the money and a marketing team in place, “We started selling financing for solar systems in April 2011,” Kreamer said, and “by August 2011, we were financing more than a million dollars a day of residential power purchase agreements and leases.
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