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SolarCity puts a new twist on fundraising

When your business is built around installing rooftop solar energy systems on your customers’ homes with no upfront costs and then collecting payments from those arrays for the next 20 years, it makes raising money a top priority.

SolarCity, the solar energy systems installer that is building a big solar panel factory in South Buffalo, is constantly raising money from investors so it has the funds it needs to pay the hundreds of millions of dollars it needs to pay the upfront costs of installing its rooftop arrays.

This week, the company put a new twist on its fundraising, securing up to $40 million in new funding by packaging some of the renewable energy credits that are generated by a portion of SolarCity’s rooftop systems and selling them to an international banking firm that the company did not identify.

It was the first time that the solar renewable energy certificates generated by solar energy products have been packaged together and monetized in a stand-alone financing deal, said Ron Klein, SolarCity’s vice president of capital markets. The certificates often are sold to power producers that need to meet solar renewable energy targets set by state regulators.