Denver-based SunShare, LLC ("SunShare"), a leading community solar developer, has secured a $30 million equity commitment from Ember Infrastructure ("Ember"), a private equity platform investing in diversified sustainable infrastructure assets and companies. The investment will accelerate SunShare's successful business model of combining market innovation with full life-cycle solar development and ownership capabilities and allow it to expand into new states.
SunShare, a family-owned company, has been a leading proponent of community solar since its inception in 2011, with more than 13,000 customers subscribed in over 80 community solar projects across Colorado and Minnesota. SunShare is one of the few developers to own and operate its projects.
"We were the first developer to see community solar's potential to bring renewable energy to the masses in the drive toward a low-carbon future," SunShare CEO and founder David Amster-Olszewski said. "This investment will support our momentum; accelerate our ability to provide jobs, local partnerships with farmers, landowners, and utilities; and provide clean energy to more people to meet growing demand."
In connection with the investment, industry veteran and Ember partner, Bob Kelly, joins SunShare's board of directors. "We see the community solar asset class and SunShare, in particular, as a strong investment opportunity in the shift to reduce carbon intensity in power generation," said Kelly. "Ember looks for long-term relationships and recognizes the value of partnering with industry leading companies, like SunShare, an end-to-end project developer, owner, operator, and subscription manager of community solar assets."
Community solar expands access to solar power generation beyond those homes and businesses able to install solar panels on their rooftops. SunShare customers can subscribe to a portion of the energy produced in SunShare's community solar gardens, and local electric utilities buy solar power directly from SunShare's subscribers through credits on their electricity bills. Community solar programs are a fast-growing segment in renewables, as National Renewable Energy Laboratory data shows that 75% of U.S. homes are unsuitable for rooftop solar panel installation and nearly 40% of U.S. households are renters who are not able to choose to install a rooftop solar option.
PLEXUS Solutions acted as financial advisor to SunShare. Holland & Hart LLP served as legal counsel to SunShare. Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati served as legal counsel to Ember.