Clean Power Finance innovating for consumer solar installations

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Tim Montague

Sep 7, 2011, 10:32:59 AM9/7/11
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Clean Power Finance raises $25 million 
from Kleiner Perkins, Google Ventures

Posted: 09/06/2011 04:30:08 PM PDT

Clean Power Finance, a San Francisco-based 
software company that helps independent solar 
installers offer financing to home- owners, has 
raised $25 million. The round was led by new 
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and  
 (GOOG) Ventures.

The company also announced that Robert "Nat" 
Kreamer, one of the founders of competitor 
SunRun, is Clean Power Finance's new CEO. 
Kreamer, a reserve officer in the Navy who 
served in Afghanistan, has been quietly working 
with Clean Power Finance in that capacity for 

California's rooftop solar industry has enjoyed a 
big boost in recent years from new financing 
arrangements -- from leases to "power purchase 
agreements" -- that make it possible for 
individuals and businesses to go solar with little 
or no money down.

SolarCity, SunRun and Sungevity -- all Bay Area 
startups -- have made names for themselves by 
bringing affordable solar to the masses, and 
each company has grown rapidly and expanded 
beyond California.

Clean Power Finance offers solar financing 
through solar installers rather than directly to 
residential or commercial building owners. And 
instead of creating a consumer brand, it focuses 
on the untapped business-to-business 

market and basically acts as the middle man 
between installers and investors.

It works with a variety of undisclosed lenders 
and is in the process of creating dedicated tax 
equity funds to finance solar installations. 
Several leading banks have already created 
similar funds with companies like SolarCity and 
SunRun, and in June, Google announced a $280 
million fund for residential solar projects with 

"When I look at the opportunity, I have to pinch 
myself," Kreamer said. "This opens up the 
market for solar financing to installers and lets 
their brand be first."

One Clean Power client is Barry Wardak, owner 
of California Solar Systems, a medium-size solar 
installer that has offices in Emeryville and 
Fullerton and usually completes about 140 
installations a year, mostly in Orange and 
Riverside counties. Wardak said his business 
struggled last year because many homeowners 
who wanted solar panels couldn't find affordable 

"We didn't have our own in-house financing, so 
we'd have to refer people to outside lenders," 
Wardak said. "But a lot of people didn't have 
enough equity in their houses to qualify."

Clean Power Finance primarily uses credit scores 
of 700 or above when assessing a homeowner's 
ability to qualify for leases or power purchase 

Tim Montague
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