Zenergy – Energy Finance Solutions

 

Zenergy is an energy finance advisory firm serving investors and developers.

Our core focus is project financing of solar PV and energy storage assets.

Investor Services

Zenergy helps investors with project origination, fund formation, due diligence, and valuation.

For Investors

Developer Services

Zenergy offers the project financing tools, investor network, and contracts needed to close your deal.

For Developers

What We Offer

Zenergy is an energy finance and project development advisory firm. The company has advised on $302 million of energy investments over the last 8 years, representing developers, installers, and investors. Zenergy taps it deep industry experience, knowledge of market rates, and extensive financial network to help its clients make smarter decisions.

Zenergy is particularly experienced with raising project finance for small commercial projects from non-traditional sources.

We combine deep financial, technical, and legal expertise in energy project development with specialization in structured finance, project finance, tax credits, debt, and equity private placement.

Zenergy specializes in commercial energy, solar PV project development, and project finance.

We help developers design early stage projects, secure power purchase agreements, formulate project financing plans, and support efforts to acquire funding or sell the project.

We help energy investors evaluate project investments by conducting diligence, preparing investment models, and advising on structuring strategies.

Zenergy has been developing and investing in renewable energy projects for over 8 years. We think like an investor/owner but understand the installer/developer’s challenges. Client’s hire us to gain this insider knowledge and structured finance expertise as they pursue a deal.


  • Fund Formation & Raising Tax Equity 80%
  • Energy & Project Finance Modeling 45%
  • Sourcing Projects For Funding 95%
  • Contract Templates & Negotiation 50%
Zenergy Developer Services

Project Design & Financing Strategy

Formulating PPA pricing, terms, and project agreements. Defining target investors and shaping deals toward their preferences.

Raising Tax Equity & Other Funding

Zenergy will match you with co-investors, tax equity, and debt. In addition to fund raising, we handle pitch decks, structuring deals, and fund formation. 

Project Finance Modeling & Contract Templates

Models scenarios across technical specs, PPA & EPC pricing, and tax equity structures. Templates for PPA, EPC, ProjectCo formation, and funding agreements.


Fund Formation

Assist in structuring the fund, sourcing tax equity and debt, and preparing fund agreements.

Project Origination

Leverage our extensive network of developers to source new projects, while also vetting and modeling new deals.

Project Diligence & Valuation

Zenergy has led diligence of 150MW+ of solar projects, ranging from utility scale, to commercial, to residential portfolios.

Zenergy Investor Services

Zenergy’s Publications & Resources

 

Press Release: SolRiver Capital Launches Solar Developer Funding Platform

SolRiver Capital (http://www.solrivercapital.com), Zenergy’s sister solar investment fund, recently announced the launch of its free Solar Developer Platform. The Platform helps developers seeking solar project funding to efficiently close investments with SolRiver. The platform offers online solar finance models to price investments and a guided approval process. It also has tools to help set up future projects, such as the PPA Rate Finder and Solar Finance Contract Library. “We wanted to make it as easy and efficient as possible for developers and installers to close solar project investments with SolRiver,” said Brandon Conard, Managing Partner of SolRiver Capital. In particular, The Platform features the Project Optimizer and SolRiver’s Guided Evaluation Process to put projects on the fast track to financing. ONLINE SOLAR INVESTMENT MODELS SolRiver’s Project Optimizer provides developers direct access to SolRiver Capital’s financial model. Developers can fine tune over 110 different project parameters to understand exactly how SolRiver prices investments. The Optimizer allows developers to run scenarios, so they can see how a change to a project would affect the price SolRiver would offer. It even provides recommendations on how to change project terms to maximize what they get paid. GUIDED FUNDING APPROVAL PROCESS The Guided Solar Project Diligence Process tells developers from the beginning what SolRiver’s approval requires. It lists the documents SolRiver asks for. It also explains what we’re looking for in each document,” Mr. Conard explained. “We want developers to know what they need to do from day one. We think the process goes a lot faster when everyone knows what’s around the next corner, and the reason why” said Conard. SolRiver’s Platform also... read more

Investor Perspective: 1 Key SREC Tip for Solar Developers

Solar developers in states with SREC markets, like Massachusetts or New Jersey, usually assume some revenue from selling SRECs in their project pro formas. This assumption, in part, helps sets their expected Dev Fee for the project. When it comes time to fund a project though, most solar investors will assume that the SRECs are worthless. Frustratingly, this often reduces the Dev Fee. Is there a way to fix this issue? As investors at SolRiver Capital, we know the answer is yes. Below we’ll explain what it takes to make your SRECs financeable. To do that, we need to start with why investors don’t usually count on SREC revenue in the first place. After you understand that, we’ll look at (1) the primary solution and (2) an alternative plan if that doesn’t work. Investor Perspective on SRECs Most developers calculate a project’s expected SREC revenue based on current spot pricing. Like any market though, SREC prices are unpredictable and will fluctuate over time. That means that SREC revenue based on spot pricing isn’t a sure thing at all. The actual revenue received could be higher or lower, but it’s impossible to guarantee at the spot price. Understandably, solar investors usually won’t value unguaranteed revenue. As a quick and easy fix, investors will zero out all SRECs and then structure their investment accordingly. In doing so the Dev Fee gets cut down, which puts the Developer in a tough spot. So how do you convince an investor to count your project’s SRECs? Solution: SREC Forward Contracts The issue is that selling SRECs at the spot price is unguaranteed revenue. So... read more

Six Must-Have Legal Terms for Solar Developers

Solar Developers know that the shorter they make the PPA and Site Lease, the quicker the Off-Taker will agree to them. Obviously, taking out unnecessary legal language to shorten these agreements is good. However, we often see Developers remove terms they think are unnecessary, only to see the Bank or investors later demand those same terms be included. This forces the Developer to go back and ask the Off-Taker to agree to the amendments, which slows everything down and often requires concessions. The better path is to add these terms at the onset. This article covers six legal terms that Developers should always keep in their PPA and Site Lease. Why Keep? Before project funding, the Bank makes sure the project has robust legal protections. During this process, lawyers look for the PPA and Site lease to include the same terms that Developers sometimes mistakenly remove. When missing these terms, the project won’t be funded until the Developer goes back and adds them. At best, this adds months until the project finally closes. At worst, it gives cause for the Off-Taker to renegotiate other contract terms, like the PPA rate. The Six Terms There are six terms that Developers often cut out that the Bank’s lawyers need to see. They are (1) “Consent to Collateral Assignment”, (2) “Lender Step-In Rights”, (3) “Representations and Warranties”, (4) “Subordination, Non-Disturbance, and Attornment”, (5) “No Encumbrance”, and (6) “Recording the Short Form Lease”. Each is explained below. 1. “Consent to Collateral Assignment” The Bank wants their money back even if the Developer defaults. The obvious way to do that is for the Bank... read more

Solar ITC Table: Eligible and Ineligible Costs

Developers and investors alike often ask us what costs can or can’t be included in the eligible basis for the Investment Tax Credit. Based on our experience and from diligencing projects at our sister investment fund SolRiver Capital, we decided to create a straightforward table that answers those questions. This isn’t a completely comprehensive list but it covers the majority of the different costs in a typical solar project. We tried to be inclusive of all project types: groundmount, roof-top, and carport. Understanding the ITC Eligibility Table Eligible costs are on the left and ineligible costs are on the right. We’ve bucketed our table based on (1) Equipment Costs, (2) EPC Softcosts, (3) Development Costs, and (4) Financing Costs. Costs that deserve a little more context are denoted with an asterisk. We have a section after the table that elaborates on each of those costs. ELIGIBLE INELIGIBLE EQUIPMENT COSTS PV Panels Mounts Racks Wires Inverters Power Conditioning Equipment Monitoring Equipment Inverter Extended Warranty Weather Station Step up Transformer Carport structure (only if underside is exposed) Site Fencing Building Improvements* Interconnection Costs* Security Cameras Lighting under carport New roof* EPC SOFTCOSTS Purchasing Costs Handling Costs Equipment Storage Costs Sales-Tax Commissioning Costs Land Grading Site Preparation Laying gravel under panels Trenching & repair of parking lot to install carport Performance Bond in EPC Prepaid O&M Monitoring Service Payments to clear easements Landscaping required by CUP Painting carport Parking lot repaving for carport DEVELOPMENT COSTS Permitting Bidding Costs Developer Fee* Geotech Reports Title Survey Land Restoration Bonds Ground Lease payments before COD (even if paid by developer) Land Options Interconnection Studies FINANCE... read more

What If My Solar Panels Aren’t Bankable?

Developers are often told to use “bankable” panels. But what if you don’t? Can you get a project funded? The answer is yes. Below we explain how to make an investor comfortable with a project using newer possibly “unbankable” technology. To do that, we need to start with a bit of forgotten context about why “bankable” became the common standard. After you understand that, the solution is obvious. What is Bankable? This is not another list of “bankable” panels. Defining bankable is as subjective as picking a favorite color. What matters instead is why investors need bankable panels. Often people try to justify a panel’s bankability by talking about technology. How well it’s made. How unlikely it is to break. Even a few investors/bankers/lawyers think bankability is measured by panel durability. But they miss the point. “Bankable really just means a panel maker that will honor their warranty over the next 20 years.” To put it simply, bankable panels are needed because most projects have such low maintenance budgets. Developers justify that low number by saying “well the panels carry a 20-year warranty.” Any saavy investor will accept that point if, and only if, they believe that the panel maker will be around for 20 years to back the warranty. That’s it. Bankable really just means a panel maker that will honor their warranty over the next 20 years. Unfortunately, there is no universal checklist for determining bankability. Whether or not panels are bankable is ultimately decided by the investor on a project basis. Of course, investors can argue that seemingly rock-solid companies have declared bankruptcy in the past... read more

Diligence Roadmap: Small Utility Scale Solar Projects

New solar investors often ask us for guidance on how to approach due diligence for a solar project. We decided to create the plain English solar project diligence roadmap below. It’s more of a how-to-guide than a checklist. It outlines the issues that need to be confirmed, what document to ask for, and what to look for in each one. The typical situation we see: An investor was presented with a solar deal they liked. After negotiating a term sheet, they are ready to vet the project. They know they need to confirm that the underlying project documents match up with the project described in the term sheet/model. Looking at the PPA price and EPC cost is obvious. But what else should they worry about? What documents should they ask for? What should they look for in those documents? Our answer is the table below. Understanding the Diligence Table In the first column, we touch on the concept you (as the investor) should be trying to confirm.  The second column lists which document to look at to find the answer. The third column lists a few issues to specifically look for in that document. CONCEPT DOCUMENT WHAT TO LOOK FOR ENTITY OWNERSHIP Make sure that the entity you buy an interest in, or loan money to, is the actual entity that owns the project. Also make sure that the entity is correctly formed and allowed to enter into this transaction. Make sure that the company/entity has been officially created. Articles of Organization Needs to be stamped by Secretary of State.   Make sure the name matches. Make sure that the company will be run... read more

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