DOE Announces $1B Loan Guarantee Fund For Distributed Energy Projects

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1 RESEARCH North America Alternative Energy Smart Grid DOE Announces $1B Loan Guarantee Fund For Distributed Energy Projects Financing Structure Aimed At Innovative Large-Scale Distributed Energy Projects September 14, 2015 Policy Brief Author Erin Carson Chief Policy Strategist Janis Kreilis Analyst Contact (212) Key Takeaways: The Department of Energy s (DOE) $1B loan guarantee for distributed energy projects addresses market barriers to deploy innovative solar, storage, and flexible demand technologies The loan program aims to aggregate distributed energy projects that would be too small to be financed individually due to high transaction costs Large-scale distributed energy providers and aggregators could benefit most from the loan program Commercially proven technologies or multiple but unrelated projects will not be eligible to participate, and the total of volume of guarantees could be limited given the strict participation requirements Related Research NY REV Utility Models Center On Customer Empowerment New York Set To Revive Renewable Energy Industry Entities Mentioned: Advanced Research Projects Agency Energy Department of Energy Department of Defense Department of Housing and Urban Development Federal Housing Administration Loan Programs Office This report is for industry information only and we make no investment recommendations whatsoever with respect to any of the companies cited, mentioned, or discussed herein. Please refer to the end of this report for analyst certification(s) and other important disclosures.

2 Insight for Industry DOE s Distributed Energy Loan Guarantee Seeks to Commercialize Innovative Clean Energy Technologies, Benefits Large-Scale Aggregators, Involves Substantial Transaction Costs On August 24, 2015, President Obama announced that the Department of Energy (DOE) will provide up to $1 billion in additional loan guarantee authority to support innovative distributed energy projects such as rooftop solar with battery storage and smart grid technologies. The loan guarantee is expected to spur innovation in clean energy technologies that are central to the Clean Power Plan (CPP). The DOE loan guarantee aims to overcome market barriers to deploying innovative distributed energy technologies through the existing Title XVII program under the 2005 Energy Policy Act and provides guidance on financial structures it can support. The DOE s Loan Program Office (LPO) has supported large, centralized projects with loan guarantees in the past. However, the new loan guarantee includes guidance on how distributed energy projects - which typically consist of a large number of small-scale installations - could apply for the LPO s support. Eligible projects must involve innovative distributed technology with installations deployed at multiple sites utilizing that technology pursuant to a master business plan. As such, the distributed small-scale installations will be considered as constituting a single project under Title XVII. Importantly, the program will support new innovative technologies only. Commercially-proven schemes, such as rooftop solar or energy efficiency upgrades, will not be eligible to participate in the program. Nor will the LPO accept applications from parties involving multiple but unrelated distributed energy projects. Eligible projects must involve innovative distributed technology with installations deployed at multiple sites utilizing that technology pursuant to a master business plan The initiative is part of executive actions and private sector commitments that President Obama announced at the National Clean Energy Summit in Nevada to accelerate the transition to cleaner and more distributed energy resources. Other significant actions include new guidance from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to expand the use of Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing that allows homeowners to install energy improvements and repay the costs over time through a property tax; increasing the use of solar power at the Department of Defense (DOD) facilities; financial support for the research and development of innovative solar panels; and creating an Interagency Task Force to Promote a Clean Energy Future for All Americans, among others. DOE Opens Loan Guarantee Authorization to Distributed Energy Projects through Existing Solicitations The DOE's Loan Programs Office (LPO) will provide an additional $1 billion loan guarantee for distributed energy projects through its current solicitations for Renewable Energy and Efficient Energy (REEE) projects and Advanced Fossil Energy (AFE) projects. The LPO has published supplements to the existing REEE EnerKnol, Inc. All rights reserved. 2

3 and AFE project solicitations to provide guidance for potential applicants regarding types of distributed projects that DOE is authorized to support. Current solicitations, totaling more than $10 billion in loan guarantee authority, are now available to support the scale up of distributed energy projects that utilize innovative technologies. The $1 billion in distributed clean energy loan guarantees intend to support financing of projects that make use of innovative and renewable or efficient energy that can avoid, reduce, or sequester greenhouse gas emissions. The loan guarantee program targets projects that aggregate distributed energy resources, such as solar, batteries, smart thermostats, electric vehicle chargers, fuel cells, and standard on-site generators through innovative and cost-effective methods (Table 1). Eligible proposals would develop, apply, or scale up innovative energy efficiency, energy storage, and renewable energy systems. Importantly, the loan program does not offer low-cost financing to proven commercial technology, such as standard roof-top solar or energy efficiency unless a portion of the proposal meets the Title XVII innovation requirements. Table 1 Illustrative Distributed Energy Project Technologies that could be Eligible for DOE Loan Guarantee The loan program does not offer low-cost financing to proven commercial technology, such as standard roof-top solar or energy efficiency unless a portion of the proposal meets the Title XVII innovation requirements Source: DOE The DOE allows applicants to pool multiple projects, in order to make the loan guarantee opportunity attractive, despite the transaction costs. According to DOE, technologies such as rooftop solar, energy storage, smart grid technology, and methane capture for oil and gas wells can modernize energy infrastructure, enhance reliability, create economic opportunity, and reduce emissions. EnerKnol, Inc. All rights reserved. 3

4 Eligible Projects Constitute Master Business Plans, Aggregated Resources under Single Arrangement As distributed energy projects require different financial structures compared to the DOE s current portfolio of large, centralized projects, the supplements clarify that the LPO will accept and consider applications and explain how project transactions can be properly structured. In addition, the LPO acknowledges the possibility of using or developing other structures and will consider applications that utilize such structures. The supplements also clarify that state-affiliated financial entities, including state green banks, may submit distributed energy proposals and may participate in distributed energy projects as lenders or co-lenders, equity providers, or off-takers. In describing financing structures, DOE notes that a typical distributed energy project installation or facility would be too small to benefit from the loan guarantee due to the associated transaction costs. To address this issue, DOE may issue loan guarantees for an aggregation of installations and facilities to provide financing under a single arrangement for multiple installations of applicable facilities. The arrangement will constitute a single project as the aggregated installations and facilities at multiple locations are integral components of a master business plan and are essential for project viability. The DOE offers three examples of structures that could qualify for the loan guarantee. In each example, a creditworthy project developer or sponsor forms a project company and, together with other creditworthy equity participants, invests more than 20 percent of the total project costs. The DOE provides a loan guarantee for less than 80 percent of the total project costs. A typical distributed energy project installation or facility would be too small to benefit from the loan guarantee due to the associated transaction costs In the first example, the project company derives its revenue through a common offtake arrangement with a creditworthy entity, with the distributed generation output aggregated on a utility scale, and sold through power purchase agreements (PPAs) (Figure 1). Figure 1 - Loan Guarantee Schematic in the Case of Multiple Physical Sites with Single Site Owner, Utility-Scale Offtakers /PPA(s) Source: DOE EnerKnol, Inc. All rights reserved. 4

5 In the second example, the output is consumed by multiple host-site owners (which must individually and in aggregate meet pre-defined credit criteria) through leases, PPAs, or other revenue contracts. Figure 2 - Loan Guarantee Schematic in the Case of Multiple Physical Sites with Multiple Site Owners as Offtakers/Customers, Multiple Installers Source: DOE In the third example, the project company operates a mobile technology, deriving revenue from the temporary setup and operation of the technology at multiple customer sites. Figure 3 - Loan Guarantee Schematic in the Case of Multiple Physical Sites/Customers, Using Mobile Technology Source: DOE Under each model, DOE would expect highly standardized or readily customizable installation plans to allow replication and reduce construction risk, as well as highly standardized contracts. DOE would expect highly standardized or readily customizable installation plans to allow replication and reduce construction risk, as well as highly standardized contracts EnerKnol, Inc. All rights reserved. 5

6 Leveraging Existing Programs Would Increase Access to Clean Energy Financing and Facilitate Innovation President Obama s distributed energy push also includes new programs to accelerate the deployment of currently available clean energy technologies. The FHA will remove existing barriers and accelerate the use of PACE financing for single family housing. PACE financing enables homes to make energy improvements immediately and repay the cost over time through property taxes. When the property is sold, the next owner is responsible for loan repayment. However, until now, PACE obligations received priority over mortgage repayments, which made mortgage agencies dispute the program, stalling its progress. The new guidance does away with this, establishing PACE liens as subordinate to FHA first-lien mortgage financing, doing away with the concerns of some of the existing lenders. Specifically, FHA will enable properties with subordinated PACE loans to be purchased and refinanced with an FHA-insured mortgage. The FHA will remove existing barriers and accelerate the use of PACE financing which enables homes to make energy improvements immediately and repay the cost over time through property taxes The Solar Energy Industries Association commended the effort to unlock PACE financing which provides a cost-effective means for consumers to own generation. It noted that the actions will streamline customer-sited generation and stabilize the local grid through simple financing mechanisms and provide clarity for developers seeking to build solar projects in underserved areas. Other measures announced by President Obama concern the Home Energy Score Program. With a new Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-DOE Home Energy Score partnership, single family households in areas with access to Home Energy Score can increase access to financing mechanisms for energy efficiency improvements. Through the partnership, homes with Home Energy Score of 6 or higher on a 10-point scale will be eligible to increase their income-qualifying ratio by 2 percent points above the standard limit, making it easier to secure financing. The President s executive actions also include Advanced Research Projects Agency Energy (ARPA-E) projects aimed to develop solar modules that integrate high-performance micro-scale technologies into flat plate panels to enhance efficiency and reduce costs. The ARPA-E will award $24 million under its Micro-scale Optimized Solar-cell Arrays with Integrated Concentration (MOSAIC) Program for 11 projects in seven states North Carolina, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, California, Texas, Washington, and New York to develop innovative solar technologies that can double the generation capacity of solar panels while reducing costs and space. For example, concentrated solar power optical devices can capture solar energy on a smaller, high efficiency receiver, thereby reducing panel size while maintaining electricity generation ability. As current concentrated PV technologies are location dependent and incur substantial costs to integrate into existing systems, MOSAIC seeks to develop micro-scale technology that can integrate more affordable materials and manufacturing techniques into PV solar panels, which can be deployed in different locations. EnerKnol, Inc. All rights reserved. 6

7 President Obama also announced the approval of a transmission line that will support the 485 MW Blythe Mesa solar plant planned for Riverside County in California to potentially power more than 145,000 homes. In addition, more than 40 military bases across U.S. will benefit from solar installation commitments of more than 233 MW, potentially reducing annual emissions by approximately 324 metric tons. Finally, the President also announced an Interagency Task Force to Promote a Clean Energy Future for All Americans, designed to work in partnership with states and community organizations. The Task Force will support low-income communities through the development and implementation of the CPP s Clean Energy Incentive Program, a voluntary matching fund program that states can use to incentivize early investment in eligible wind and solar projects, as well as demand-side energy efficiency projects. The CPP includes new utility-scale renewable energy as the basis for one of its building blocks based on up-todate information demonstrating lower cost and greater availability of renewable generation, as well as additional incentives to spur energy efficiency investments in low income communities. Taken together, in addition to helping states meet the emissions reduction targets under the CPP, President Obama s executive actions and commitments aim to increase the share of renewables to 20 percent of electric power generation (excluding hydropower) by 2030, install 300 MW of renewable energy on federally subsidized housing by 2020, and double energy production by Non-hydro renewables accounted for seven percent of U.S. electricity generation in 2014 (Figure 4). The actions also support the nation s target of reducing emissions by percent below 2005 levels in 2025, pursuant to the GHG reduction target submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in March. Figure 4 Percent Share of U.S. Electricity Generation in 2014 In addition to helping states meet emissions reduction targets under the CPP, President Obama s executive actions and commitments aim to increase the share of renewables to 20 percent of electric power generation (excluding hydropower) by 2030 Source: EIA EnerKnol, Inc. All rights reserved. 7

8 The DOE loan program could prove to be an important piece in the President s efforts to ensure the country meets the ambitious targets of GHG reduction. By making funds available to distributed energy projects, which suffer from a market failure of being too small individually to attract federal support, the loan program will help bring innovative technologies to the market which could be commercialized. These technologies, in turn, could help decrease carbon emissions and make the grid more resilient and reliable. However, the number of projects and the total of volume of guarantees applied remains to be seen, as the requirements for participation are quite strict and might somewhat limit the number of entities receiving such support. The number of projects and the total of volume of guarantees applied remains to be seen, given the strict participation requirements that might limit the number of entities receiving support EnerKnol, Inc. All rights reserved. 8

9 Disclosures Section RESEARCH RISKS Regulatory and Legislative agendas are subject to change. AUTHOR CERTIFICATION By issuing this research report, Erin Carson as author of this research report, certifies that the recommendations and opinions expressed accurately reflect her personal views discussed herein and no part of the author s compensation was, is, or will be, directly or indirectly, related to the specific recommendations or views expressed in this report. IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES This report is for industry information only and we make no investment recommendations whatsoever with respect to any of the companies cited, mentioned, or discussed herein. EnerKnol Inc. is not a broker-dealer or registered investment advisor. Information contained herein has been derived from sources believed to be reliable but is not guaranteed as to accuracy and does not purport to be a complete analysis of the company, industry or security involved in this report. This report is not to be construed as an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any security or to engage in or refrain from engaging in any transaction. Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice. The information herein is for persons residing in the United States only and is not intended for any person in any other jurisdiction. This report has been prepared for the general use of the wholesale clients of EnerKnol Inc. and must not be copied, either in whole or in part, or distributed to any other person. If you are not the intended recipient you must not use or disclose the information in this report in any way. If you received it in error, please tell us immediately by return e -mail to and delete the document. We do not guarantee the integrity of any s or attached files and are not responsible for any changes made to them by any other person. In preparing this report, we did not take into account your investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs. Before making an investment decision on the basis of this (or any) report, you need to consider, with or without the assistance of an adviser, whether the advice is appropriate i n light of your particular investment needs, objectives and financial circumstances. We accept no obligation to correct or update the information or opinions in it. No member of EnerKnol Inc. accepts any liability whatsoever for any direct, indirect, consequential or other loss arising from any use of this report and/or further communication in relation to this report. For additional information, please visit enerknol.com or contact management team at (212) Copyright EnerKnol Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this report may be redistributed or copied in any form without the prior writte n consent of Enerknol Inc. EnerKnol, Inc. All rights reserved. 9

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