Solar and storage venture capital and finance roundup

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Here’s a roundup of recent venture funding and project finance in solar, storage and beyond.

SOLshare, a Bangladesh-based off-grid solar company, closed $1.1 million in financing from IIX Impact Partners, a crowdfunding platform for impact investing, as well as innogy New Ventures – the VC arm of German utility innogy SE, and the investment arm of Portuguese utility EDP. The company aims to bring solar microgrids to off-grid, underserved communities in Bangladesh. More than half of Bangladesh’s population has no access to electricity.

SOLS Energy of Malaysia received an undisclosed amount of funding from Petronas Ventures. The company designs, distributes, installs and maintains solar systems for residential, and small and medium enterprise sectors in Malaysia. The startup has also received funding from 500 Startups. The CEO is Raj Ridvan.

Tax equity and securitization for solar is alive and well

Mosaic, a U.S. provider of financing for residential solar and energy-efficient home improvements, closed a $280 million securitization of residential solar loans. “Our ability to securitize solar loans in this challenged market environment is a vote of confidence in solar energy as an asset class,” said Billy Parish,  Mosaic’s CEO. The offering consists of four tranches of notes rated by Kroll Bond Rating Agency from “AA-” to “BB+” with weighted average lives ranging from 1.95 to 5.06 years. The notes are backed by $315 million of solar loans with a weighted average FICO score of 753.

Idemitsu Renewables, a utility-scale solar developer, closed tax equity financing for its 50 MW Central 40 solar project in Stanislaus County, California, and its 80 MW Pioneer Solar project in Adams County, Colorado. Both projects are under construction and will begin operating later this year. The tax equity syndicate was arranged by RBC Capital Markets. Pioneer will sell power to Intermountain Rural Electric Association, a nonprofit electric distribution cooperative in Colorado, and Central 40 will sell power to Silicon Valley Power.

Vivint Solar secured $300 million in new tax equity financing commitments. Vivint said the finance would help support the growth of its residential solar business, and the new money would finance around 185 MW of residential systems, equivalent to around 24,000 new customers. Vivint said the two deals satisfied its tax equity financing needs well into next year.

Energy storage

Orison, a Wyoming-based startup raised a $8.5 million seed round from investors including Australian electricity retailer Origin Energy. The company claims its batteries are designed to make energy storage accessible and affordable and allow “any energy consumer to self-install the system without utility approval or permits.” Origin plans to test and potentially deploy the energy storage solution later this year in the Australian market. According to uncritical reports at GTM, The energy monitor costs $300 and the battery system costs $2,200 for 1.8 kilowatts/2.2 kilowatt-hours — comparing unfavorably to Tesla’s Powerwall, which delivers 13.5 kilowatt-hours for $6,500.

Highview Power won a $12.5 million grant from the UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy for a 50 MW/250+ MWh cryogenic energy storage facility. Javier Cavada, Highview CEO, said, “This new cryogenic energy storage plant will deliver much needed long-duration energy storage and provide valuable services to the National Grid.” Highview recently received $43.5 million from Sumitomo Heavy Industries. The facility will use existing substation and transmission infrastructure, with income derived from arbitrage, grid balancing, and ancillary services.

Investments in carbon sequestration 

Soil Carbon, an Australian startup looking to convert atmospheric CO2 into soil carbon, raised a $6.8 million seed round led by Horizons Ventures along with Grok Ventures, Clean Energy Finance and Lowercarbon Capital. “Microbe mediated carbon sequestration is one of the most important scientific endeavors of the 21st century. It promises an elegant solution for two of our greatest challenges today: the decrease of fertility and resilience in the world’s agricultural soils and climate change induced by the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere,” according to the company’s website. The company is developing a carbon-fixing endophytic fungus to sink carbon in soil. Here’s a video.

Carbon Clean Solutions Limited (CCSL), a UK-based startup focused on low-cost CO2 capture and separation technology, closed on a $22 million series B round from Equinor Ventures and ICOS Capital, joining WAVE Equity Partners, Chevron Technology Ventures, and Marubeni Corporation. The company is looking at CO2 capture technology for use across the steel, cement, waste management and refining & petrochemicals sectors. According to the company, its commercially available carbon capture process is applicable for industrial flue gases or off-gases with CO2 concentrations ranging from 3 to 25 vol.% and can achieve 90%+ capture rates.

Climeworks raised $75 million to pull CO2 out of the atmosphere last month, in a direct-air capture process where CO2 from fossil generators and industrial sources is captured, treated and injected into underground earth formations for permanent storage or for industrial use.