Capital One Bank has invested US$100million into a partnership with residential installer and leasing company SolarCity, marking the US bank’s first ever investment in renewable energy.
According to SolarCity, the partnership formed by the two companies will finance “thousands” of residential solar power systems. The balance of the deal was reflected in SolarCity’s annual financial results, which were announced on 7 May.
The energy banking team at Capital One has around US$3.5 billion invested in energy-banking loan commitments. The deal with SolarCity is, according to a statement, a reflection of a commitment on the bank’s part to invest into new sectors of the energy industry, which includes renewable energy.
Overall, SolarCity claims it has the funds to install over US$4 billion worth of systems.
“Thanks to Capital One, when we ask our customers ‘what’s in your wallet?’ thousands more can say ‘all the money I saved on electricity bills by going solar,” SolarCity founder and chief executive officer Lyndon Rive said.
SolarCity also announced this week that it has opened its second operations centre in the US state of Hawaii. The new facility will be based in Kona, on Hawaii Island and will consist of a storage facility, warehouse and offices. The company says it has already connected 100 residential customers and currently employs 12 staff. It has already spawned a solar power system at Kona Airport, built in partnership with the Department of Transportation. This follows the 2011 opening of an operations centre on O’ahu.
The company’s director of policy and electricity markets, Jon Yoshimura said the move was a “sensible step” in SolarCity’s expansion plans. Yoshimura said SolarCity wished to expand its Hawaii business in both commercial and residential sectors, and wanted to form a “strong relationship” with the local community.
Hawaii is one of the first US states to mandate the addition of energy storage, for reasons that include easing the grid integration of renewable energy sources on its islands. SolarCity recently began its own storage programme, including pilot schemes in California for residential and commercial customers. There has not yet been mention of plans that SolarCity may have for deploying electricity storage in Hawaii.
At the beginning of May, SolarCity also expanded its operations into the state of Nevada. Also at the beginning of the month, the company issued full-year installation guidance for 2014 to between 500MW and 550MW.