Urban Grid joins MDV-SEIA as a Silver Sponsor for the 7th annual Solar Focus Conference. MDV-SEIA is proud to partner on this event with Urban Grid, a longtime supporter of the organization’s efforts and an active solar stakeholder in the Mid-Atlantic. We had a chance to catch up with the Urban Grid team to learn more about the company and their thoughts on East Coast solar.
MDV-SEIA: Tell us a bit about your company.
Urban Grid: Urban Grid develops and finances solar PV projects throughout the United States. We have established partnerships with private high net worth investors and large financial institutions to install, own, and maintain distributed generation solar assets ranging from 500kW to 10MW. We take a highly disciplined approach to vetting and negotiating our transactions, while still providing unmatched flexibility to our EPC/developer/host customer partners. We will finish 2013 having closed over 8.0MW of projects, and we have a strong pipeline moving into 2014.
MDV-SEIA: What markets do you operate in?
Urban Grid: We currently have transactions live in Maryland, Washington DC, New York, Delaware, and New Mexico. We are also actively reviewing transactions in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, North Carolina, and Georgia, and will consider any US market with project economics that make financial sense.
MDV-SEIA: What opportunities do you see for distributed solar on the east coast?
Urban Grid: Distributed solar has seen tremendous growth in recent years. Several states on the East Coast have implemented policies that favor the mid-sized distributed solar market, paving the way for continued growth of commercial PPAs and thereby fostering a strong niche market for Urban Grid. The financial benefits for both the host customer and financial investor tend to be more attractive for distributed generation transactions. We see continued success for distributed generation in locations where states step up and provide predictable and long term incentives.
MDV-SEIA: What challenges do you see?
Urban Grid: The most significant challenge looming involves the mounting attacks on Net Energy Metering (NEM) laws arising across the country. We are seeing utilities beginning to gain some traction in their arguments against NEM in states such as Arizona, California and Colorado, with more states like New York and Vermont studying the cost-benefit of their NEM laws. It is only a matter of time before these challenges begin to appear on the East Coast and have a major impact on the continued growth of the distributed solar market throughout the county.
MDV-SEIA: Whether East Coast or West Coast, which state/utility level programs or policies do you see as being a good model for others to follow?
Urban Grid: The industry presents unique challenges for companies like Urban Grid that operate and maintain solar assets across diverse markets. The multitude of state and utility programs require us to find financing solutions that work in a variety of situations including SRECs, PTCs, and Grants, among others. We applaud states like New Jersey, Massachusetts and Maryland that have implemented incentive programs with price predictability and longevity. The common denominator in these markets is that you have a state government that supports solar and the long term success of the program.
As an investor in our solar projects, it is essential for us to hedge incentive values for at least 5 years to be comfortable with returns associated with our transactions. We look forward to eventually moving away from volatile state incentives; however, given solar irradiance in the MDV tri-state area, it will be years before increases in electricity costs, decreases in installation costs and decreases in financing costs allow for ”grid parity”.
About Urban Grid
Urban Grid is a leading developer and financier of solar photovoltaic projects throughout the United States. We work with commercial, educational, government and non-profit organizations to provide financing options for state of the art solar installations that minimize risk and maximize return on investment. Urban Grid is based in Annapolis, MD.
Urban Grid has a team of seasoned finance and construction professionals on staff that ensures the highest quality solar installation while providing the best financial solutions for our customers. We have established an in-house development fund and streamlined operations that provide our customers and strategic partners unparalleled flexibility with deal structure and the ability to offer competitive installation and financing rates.
At Urban Grid, our goal is to provide predictable energy savings in a way that aligns with your organization’s long-term goals. Please explore our website to learn more about our financing and development solutions or contact Urban Grid at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information please visit http://www.urbangridco.com/index.shtml
Founded in 1984, MDV-SEIA represents the interests of photovoltaic and solar thermal developers, financiers, equipment manufacturers, installers, distributors and component suppliers serving Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Virginia. Our members design, sell, integrate, install, maintain and finance solar energy equipment for residential, commercial and institutional customers throughout the region.
MDV-SEIA delivers on policy formation and advocacy, market representation, networking, education, and additional benefits to our 100+ members representing more than 2,000 direct jobs in our region. In the last few years, MDV-SEIA’s leadership has resulted in increased state requirements as well as increased penalties for non-compliance, creation of a solar thermal market, improvements to net metering, and game changing gains in the deployment of solar.
For more information, please visit www.mdvseia.org.
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