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Level Solar, Renew Financial win $45m in NYGB funding

The New York Green Bank, a state-sponsored investment fund, will extend $49m of capital to three renewables companies targeting the state – Level Solar, ReNew Financial, and United Wind.

The funding will leverage up to $178m in additional private capital, according to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office.

The largest amount, $25m, will go toward the creation of a warehouse financing facility for Level Solar, a Long Island-based residential rooftop PV installer, which competes with companies like SolarCity in offering homeowners long-term solar leases at no upfront cost. The funding will cover as many 6,000 solar installations.

The second largest pot, $20m, will go to Renew Financial, an Oakland, California-based provider of Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loans for homeowners.

PACE programmes, which are expanding in the US, allow homeowners to get low-cost loans to install solar panels and energy-efficiency technologies. The loans are paid back through their property taxes, rather than through a separate monthly bill, and are typically easier for people with shaky credit to obtain.

The $20m will be paired with a $50m commitment from Citi, as Renew Financial expands into New York state for the first time. Renew Financial administers CaliforniaFIRST, the largest PACE programme currently operating in the US.

The New York Green Bank also offered $4m in revolving construction loans for United Wind, a Brooklyn-based company that does for wind what companies like SolarCity and NRG Home Solar are doing for solar.

United Wind installs small wind turbines on a customer’s property at no upfront cost, then recoups its costs through monthly leasing payments based on the amount of electricity generated. United Wind was formed in 2013 through the combination of two small wind companies, Wind Analytics, a wind-resource assessment specialist, and Talco Electronics, a maker of small wind turbines.

The New York Green Bank is a central pillar of Gov. Cuomo’s sweeping Reforming the Energy Vision plan, which seeks to boost the state’s renewables capacity, create clean-energy jobs, and retailor the electricity market in way that allows technologies like distributed solar and battery storage take off without posing an existential threat to the incumbent utilities.

"These investments further cement New York's position as a global leader in clean energy development, as well as in the fight against climate change," Cuomo says. 

"These three projects will not only help improve access to renewable energy for residents and businesses, but will also help stir economic growth by enabling these industries to grow in New York State."

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