CollectiveSun™: Shining Strong for a Community
(3BL Media/Justmeans) - There is something going on in California called CollectiveSun™, a community-driven solar investment platform that works exclusively with not-for-profits to help finance their sustainable solar power projects. CollectiveSun™ has recognised that this “third sector” is one of the most underserved segments in the distribution of solar energy and wanted to change things. It saw the solution, which was simply to offer investments in solar with great returns for investors, where the collective dollars raised from the investments help fund the sustainable solar power project that, in turn, helps these organisations save on energy expenses and at the same time, also increases member engagement. It brings not-for-profits, investors and solar installers together in one marketplace for solar power, building lasting relationships and creating value for all.
Created by seasoned professionals with expertise in finance and renewable energy, this platform was set-up to offer communities of faith (churches, synagogues), schools and other community service-led bodies the benefits of solar. These groups are offered immediate financial and environmental benefits, giving them the biggest benefit of lowering their energy costs from the moment the solar power system is turned on. CollectiveSun™ has succeeded just doing this when it launched its first project for TERI, a local Californian organisation that provides services for individuals affected by special needs.
It offered TERI a less expensive option for going solar than typical bank or lending firm loans, as these traditional financing vehicles can often be very costly. Instead, CollectiveSun™ leveraged the power of TERI’s own community and membership base to make an investment: not a donation, as the full amount is repaid to them over a 10-year period through annual principal and interest payments. As a result at the end of a ten year Power Purchase Agreement TERI enjoys a no-hassle purchase option allowing them to own the asset with no surprise big payments.
Needless to say, TERI has been delighted with its partnership with CollectiveSun™, which has enabled it to go solar. It has also benefitted from immediate savings as it has found that its collaboration with this platform has increased its donor base, which will further its mission to service the needs of children and adults with autism and other intellectual disabilities. As one supporter of CollectiveSun™ says, “This proves the viability of using social returns on investment as a model for philanthropy."
CollectiveSun™ is an enterprise for Californian residents only. The U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts that over the next 30 years, even without a significant boost in government promotion of renewable energy, production will increase by 150 percent. By 2040, renewable energy, led by wind and solar, will comprise one-fifth of the total U.S. electricity. So, with CollectiveSun™, brighter days seem to be on the horizon for the not-for-profits.
Photo Credit: CollectiveSun™