Ontario’s Green Energy Act (2009) and Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) got many people excited about installing solar panels on their homes and earning revenues from the electricity generated. But reality set in and many homeowners were daunted by the complicated and time-consuming application process, securing financing, and finding reliable installers. Enter Pure Energies, a new Toronto-based company with a 21st century approach to accelerating uptake of zero-carbon solar generation while minimizing the fuss and muss for their customers.
TAF made a $645,000 investment structured as a seed revolving loan fund. As the first funder of both construction and long-term financing, TAF used the revenue from the micro-FIT contracts as security. Pure was able to draw on the loan to install 34 rooftop systems, which allowed their revenues, reputation and capacity to grow. TAF’s 2011 funding model was leveraged to build the business which has now installed over 1,000 residential solar systems in Ontario and now operates throughout the USA.
TAF’s Investment Committee and staff worked closely with Pure to work out the deal which yields a market rate of return that funds TAF’s community climate action work. In addition to interest on the original loan, TAF is now exercising our purchase option on warrants provided to early-stage investors triggered by the purchase of Pure Energies by NRG, a US Fortune 250 company and a leading energy service provider.
This win-win deal underscores how important innovative and flexible financing is to those working hard to create a new green economy, and demonstrates that impact investments can bring significant environmental benefits without sacrificing financial return on investment.
TAF congratulates Pure Energies, and in particular Bernie Li and Zbigniew Barwicz, for their collegiality and dedicated efforts to advance low-carbon solutions.