On June 24 CollectiveSun participated in a webinar hosted by Enact Systems, creator of a premier solar and energy storage design and project management tool. Entitled Enact + CollectiveSun: Solar Project Design and Financing for Tax Exempt Organizations, the webinar featured Enact’s Director, Greg Maguire, and their Director of Energy Services, Mark Chapman, as well as CollectiveSun’s Vice President of Sales, Matt Brennan.
The three men discussed how to use the power of Enact’s tool and CollectiveSun’s singular financing offerings to engage nonprofits and other organizations without a tax appetite. The webinar included a discussion about the benefits of working with CollectiveSun and a demo of Enact’s digital tool.
Greg opened up the webinar by highlighting the challenges faced by solar companies in the current climate as well as the opportunities for selling to the tax-exempt markets.
He also described the two kinds of platforms available through Enact. One is Envision, a tool that offers design and engineering, financing and contract management, and customer relationship and project management. The other is Engage, a tool meant for live energy and OEM fleet management for larger projects.
Solar Financing with CollectiveSun
Matt went on to talk about CollectiveSun’s expertise in solar financing for nonprofits and other tax exempt organizations. He described the Solar Power Agreement (SPA), a prepaid service contract that is available wherever third party ownership is allowed. The SPA enables customers to receive a 12% or more tax-like credit for solar systems 50kW and larger. Matt stated that CollectiveSun owns, operates, maintains and provides a production guarantee for the system for the first 6 years, after which ownership transfers to the customer at no cost.
He explained that the remaining 88% of the cost of the solar system can come from a number of different sources, typically paid over a milestone schedule.
Matt then moved through a number of project examples and their funding to show the breadth of organizations and funding possibilities available when working with CollectiveSun. These organizations ranged from a country club and medical center to a school system, church and dance company. For a recent project at a community clinic, Matt pointed out a new source of impact investing created in partnership with CollectiveSun called SunForAll that offers donations and loans below market rate in the San Diego area.
In response to a question, Matt explained that CollectiveSun strikes an equal balance between working with nonprofits and working with contractors looking for a PPA or a way to capture tax benefits for existing projects.
Streamlined Process with the Enact Platform
Mark shifted gears and did a demo of Enact’s design and proposal tool, which included walking through how to select CollectiveSun as a financing option. He began with Enact’s homepage and dashboard, which lay out a company’s entire pipeline of projects and allow for view customization and sorting. These pages include listing team members activities and viewing the status of proposals.
Mark then clicked on a specific project to demonstrate project design and proposal creation. He demonstrated how to edit an existing quote and customize the array, which includes features like calculating setbacks, accounting for obstructions, generating images, and customizing inverter information and engineer design.
Mark also showed how project documents can be handled and workflow customized for each step of the process. He then walked through generating solar savings information using a detailed utility rate analysis, showing how easy it is to quickly analyze a roof space to see how many PV panels will fit and understand the impact on the utility bill.
When he shifted to the finance tab, Mark demonstrated how to price a project and compare finance options for a nonprofit customer. He looked at customizing the information based on factors like sales price, hardware options, and permitting. Under incentives and credits, Mark showed that the user can simply select the 12% discount with CollectiveSun, analyze the purchase cash flow and view options for the remaining 88% of the project cost.
Finally, he generated a proposal (which has a fully customizable format) that breaks down the PV system details, electric bill offset with solar numbers, and the system cost, which includes the breakdown of what CollectiveSun will provide and what the customer will need to finance. He clarified that users have the option to apply state specific rebates like California’s SGIP, after which Matt stressed that any available government or utility rebates would be available to the customer.
Some Logistics About Working with CollectiveSun
The webinar wrapped up with a Q&A. Matt described the two contracts signed when a nonprofit works with CollectiveSun: the SPA between the customer and CollectiveSun and the standard construction contract between CollectiveSun and the contractor. Matt also clarified that, while there are no credit rating requirements to work with CollectiveSun and get the 12% discount, traditional underwriting standards will apply for the funding for the remaining 88%, which includes credit rating information.
He also explained that while it is ideal to begin working with CollectiveSun from the beginning of the process, they work with contractors coming to them during all stages of the process. Greg also noted that Enact plans to integrate energy storage modeling into their platform and that there would be a future webinar about it.
Thank you to Enact Systems for inviting CollectiveSun to participate in this webinar.
By Sara Carbone