Commercial and industrial customers of US energy and energy services retailer Direct Energy will soon be able to utilise solar power at ‘little or no upfront cost’, following an agreement the company has signed with PV energy services provider SolarCity.
The two companies have created a direct investment fund capable of financing up to US$124 million in solar projects, including US$50 million from Direct Energy.
Direct Energy customers joining the scheme will be able to choose from a range of plans, with the package offered expected to include installation, insurance, repairs and monitoring services. Participation is dependent on eligibility, with companies allowed to either pre-pay for solar power or pay monthly.
SolarCity believes the scheme will make it possible for Direct Energy Business customers to pay less than the current rates for clean power.
Direct Energy, a subsidiary of Centrica, has a customer base spanning 46 US states and includes residential as well as commercial customers. Participating in the scheme will be Direct Energy Business, the division of Direct Energy responsible for 180,000 business customers.
Jimmy Chuang, vice president of structured finance at SolarCity said: “This unique relationship demonstrates how traditional energy companies and renewable energy companies can work together to make clean energy more accessible and affordable. Direct Energy is giving business and industrial customers direct access to cheaper, cleaner energy. SolarCity gains an important new avenue to provide its groundbreaking services to businesses at a lower cost”.
“Solar is a viable opportunity that positions Direct Energy Business as a total energy management service provider for commercial and industrial customers,” added Mike Senff of Direct Energy Business. “Solar complements Direct Energy Business' other product offerings while supporting our customers' corporate sustainability goals.”
In mid-August SolarCity purchased Paramount Solar for US$116.3 million with a combination of stock and cash. The Paramount Solar deal is thought to have gone ahead with a view to SolarCity expanding its share of the residential market.