Nelnet acquires GRNE Solutions


Nelnet, a financial services company historically focused on student loan servicing, announced that it has made a controlling investment in GRNE Solar, a Midwest solar engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) firm, as well as some of the company’s solar projects, including operational projects and projects under construction.

GRNE designs and installs residential, commercial and utility-scale solar systems in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, and Missouri with plans to expand to Colorado in the near future. The company’s solar projects typically generate between 1 MW to 5 MW of power. GRNE also offers battery backup, electric vehicle charging, energy monitoring, and operations and maintenance services.

According to Nelnet, GRNE co-founders Jess Baker and Eric Peterman will will continue to lead GRNE and retain a minority ownership interest in the company.

“We are excited to partner with Jess, Eric and the GRNE team to accelerate their growth plans and our diversification into solar development,” said Scott Gubbels, Nelnet executive director of tax and renewable energy. “The GRNE team has earned a strong reputation in the solar industry for their culture, values and high-quality execution and construction management. Together, we will create a unique solution in the renewable space, including EPC services, financing solutions and subscription management.”

While Nelnet operates as a diversified financial services and technology company, it has operations dedicated to renewable energy offerings and solutions, under the brand Nelnet Renewable Energy. Nelnet Renewable Energy focuses on tax-equity investing, its tax co-investing platform, community solar subscription and campus solar development solutions.

The company served as the lead investor and fund manager for a $9.9 million solar tax equity deal for a portfolio of projects in New York State. in April 2021. It has also managed subscriber acquisition and related services for a five-project portfolio of community solar projects totaling 20 MW in SaratogaSchenectadyOneidaJefferson and surrounding counties in New York.

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