To the Sunwealth Community: 2019 Newsletters

January 8, 2019

Eat Better and Lose 10,000 Metric Tons of Carbon

Happy New Year! 

First up, I want to highlight an exciting event for our Boston friends this Thursday night, January 10th. 

Sunwealth is proud to join BASIC and the New England Impact Investing Initiative in sponsoring “Mobilizing the Boston Impact Investment Community.” Our own Jess Brooks will interview ImpactAlpha editor David Bank on national trends and opportunities. Then, we’ll have a roundtable featuring impact investing leaders Tracy Palandjian of Social Finance, Lucas Turner-Owens of Ujima Fund, Carrie Endries of Reynders, McVeigh and Ellen Remmer of The Philanthropic Initiative. Social innovation expert (and Sunwealth advisory board member) Sara Minard of the College of Social Innovation will moderate. 

Our goal is simple: let’s gather the smartest minds in impact investing and set the stage for an exciting 2019. Join us! 

One of the most compelling – and sometimes complicated – aspects of making an equity investment in solar is that returns on equity include tax benefits and cash. Tax Equity investment allows eligible investors to reduce or eliminate tax liabilities by investing in solar and receiving tax credits, tax-deductible depreciation and cash. Check out our tax equity blog post to learn more.

I’ll be honest, I’m not doing a great job of eating better in 2019. BUT, the Sunwealth team is doing a much better job of sticking to its resolution: a 2019 Solar Impact Fund that is bigger, better and simpler

We’ve made it easier for investors to join us, with a simple debt offering in addition to our tax equity investment option. Our 2019 Fund invests directly in solar projects that create environmental returns, energy savings for our power purchasers, jobs and revenue for local installers and financial returns for investors. 

Whether you’re looking for a simple and transparent way to invest directly in solar or searching for ways to avoid the market volatility, Sunwealth’s Solar Impact Fund presents a compelling opportunity. Reach out to Jess or me to learn more. 

Three stories worthy of your time this month – 

  • How Your State Generates Electricity. “America isn’t making electricity the way it did two decades ago … Each state has its own story.” Check out how your state generates electricity.

  • Retreat on the Environment is Affecting Communities. Done in the name of job creation, supporting small business and reducing red tape, Trump Administration environmental deregulation has devastating health and economic effects on communities. Four poignant & compelling stories from The New York Times.

  • The Green New Deal, Explained. An insurgent movement is pushing Democrats to back an ambitious climate change solution.

Achieving our vision of an inclusive clean energy future will take more than resolve. It requires the right team: a group of talented and driven individuals dedicated to building a new market for solar investment. We’re hiring a Project Associate who will play a key role in helping us build that market. 

It also requires the right partners. We are grateful to you for your partnership. We look forward to doing great things together in the coming year!

Until next month,

P.S. – Don’t forget to continue the conversation by following us on TwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram!

February 12, 2019

How Purposeful Investment Generates Meaningful Returns

February greetings from Sunwealth! 

In the first weeks of 2019, we’ve been focused on changing the conversation about how to invest in renewable energy, launching our 2019 Solar Impact Fund, and growing our team.

We envision a renewable energy economy where rooftops everywhere are generating clean, affordable solar power. To get there, we need to change the way people think about solar investment – and activate a whole new crop of renewable energy investors. We’re out talking to individuals, wealth advisors, family offices, foundations, endowments, corporations and financial institutions about why inclusive investment in renewable energy matters – and how it can generate energy savings, carbon reduction, green local jobs and financial returns to investors. 

Changing the way we invest in renewable energy will take a whole lot of these conversations. Some February highlights (recent and upcoming): 

Our 2019 Solar Impact Fund is off and running. With it, we will look to double our impact: creating increased energy savings and value for our rooftop hosts and power purchasers, reducing carbon emissions, and helping grow jobs and revenue for local developers and installers. As in prior years, the 2019 Fund includes both a debt and tax equity offering and will invest in an inclusive portfolio of small-scale solar projects that deliver reliable and meaningful returns to our communities and our investors.

Interested in learning more? Contact Ryan or me for more information. 

As the pipeline grows, so does our team. In January, we welcomed Julianna Knapczyk, who joined Sunwealth in the role of asset management associate. Jules comes to us from State Street Bank, where she worked as a business analyst and client service representative. She’ll work closely with other members of our asset management team to oversee our growing portfolio of solar projects and investor accounts. With the addition of Julianna and our Northeastern co-ops Savannah Kinzer and Anna Sorokina, we now have more women than men in the office. But who’s counting? (Actually, we are.) 

Four stories worth your time this month: 

So, two moral imperatives (climate change and economic inequality) and a market opportunity (small-scale solar) walk into a bar. What happens? With the right community of partners, they provide an opportunity to build a better world.

Stay in touch,

March 7, 2019

There was a time when bipartisan legislation advanced clean energy. Seriously.

Greetings folks – 

We participated in two exciting events in our hometown last month – each calling for significant investment in infrastructure to combat climate change and strengthen our communities. 

First, U.S. Senator Ed Markey came home to Massachusetts to announce the Green New Deal Resolution. Two weeks later, I joined Greentown Labs CEO Dr. Emily Reichert in introducing Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo, who announced GreenWorks, a $1B proposal for sustainable investment in a cleaner, greener Massachusetts. 

These events remind me of a time when Congress actually came together to advance robust legislation that became a catalytic force for the blossoming clean energy economy. Am I living in a dream? No, I’m talking about the Investment Tax Credit and Solar Tax Equity – this century’s Green New Deal before the Green New Deal

The Investment Tax Credit – now 13 years old – provides valuable lessons that should be instructive as we consider potential iterations of the Green New Deal. 

  • Well-crafted incentives work. The tax credits generated by solar projects compelled private markets to act, bringing scale to a nascent industry and creating jobs and clean energy.

  • Incentives must be unequivocally clear in their usage and application – and they must provide time for the markets to work.

The most valuable lesson of all? Climate action can’t wait for the Green New Deal. With well-proven incentive programs like the Investment Tax Credit in place now, we don’t have to wait. Tax Equity investing for an inclusive clean energy future, anyone? 

It’s been a wild ride the past few quarters with the public markets. Down they go, up they go, with many of the market risks remaining the same. 

What keeps humming along? Noncorrelated assets like Sunwealth’s Solar Impact Fund. Generating clean energy and delivering returns on a predictable basis. It’s amazing what the sun can do when you put it to work for you! 

We hosted our first webinar last month – an introduction to Solar Tax Equity – and we’re grateful those who attended. We’ll aim to host one each month on topics ranging from opportunity zones to income and racial inequality in clean energy. We’ll also look to you – our community – for ideas that will educate and inspire as we build a clean energy economy that works for all of us. 

And a shout-out to that Sunwealth team member who likened the webinar to a live podcast that comes with slides. Our thoughts exactly. 

Three stories worthy of your time this month –

We were delighted to welcome Julianna Knapczyk to the team last month. This month, we’re excited to welcome Marcel Rodgers to the team as Project Development Manager. More positions to open throughout the year. 

Interested in a career in accelerating the clean energy economy in the fight against climate change? Then say hello to us

Until next month,

P.S. – Don’t forget to continue the conversation by following us on TwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram!

April 11, 2019

Without a Doubt

Greetings folks – 

My daughter recently discovered the Magic 8 Ball. She loves it. When she asks the Magic 8 Ball, “Will I get ice cream?”, it always responds “Signs point to yes”. 

Wanting to capture the optimism, I picked up the Magic 8 Ball, inquired about a Red Sox World Series repeat (“Better not tell you now”), and then asked a more pressing question:

Will humanity rise to the challenge of climate change? The response – “Outlook not so good”, which summarizes the fits and starts of our attempts to address climate change over the past 30 years. 

So I took a page out of my daughter’s playbook and quickly asked again. This time, the Magic 8 Ball answered –“Without a Doubt”. 

Without a doubt! Frankly, we have no choice. Like a second shake of the Magic 8 Ball, we still have a chance to unite people, private markets and policy to get the answer we want. 

What better way to rise to that challenge than with two of our most valuable resources: our time and money. Join us and our good friends at the Croatan Institute and Greentown Labs next Tuesday, April 16th for an insightful look at Croatan’s Clean Portfolio Project and powerful models to finance renewable energy across asset classes.

Who is acting in the fight against climate change? Schools are going solar at an unprecedented rate – and we work with a number of them to finance this transition. We understand that going solar means investing in the future of energy and the future of our children. 

Cities are taking action, too. While the Green New Deal Resolution is causing discord in Washington, D.C., cities across the U.S. are serving as the incubators of climate action and leaders of the clean energy economy. Take our hometown of Somerville, MA, which purchases locally-generated clean energy from us and uses energy savings to support the city’s other environmental initiatives. 

With the deadline for tax filings looming, what better time to explore the power of Tax Equity investing than right now! Through its allocation of tax benefits and cash, Tax Equity is a unique way for corporations and eligible individual investors to turn a tax liability into an investment opportunity. Reply to learn more.

And if you’re a potential investor and missed our Tax Equity Webinar earlier this month, send us a note and we’ll gladly provide the recording.

We’re proud to have the Energy News Network feature us in its recent article “Massachusetts solar firm aims to pair capitalism with environmental justice”.The piece highlights our unique model that brings clean energy to overlooked communities while targeting market-rate returns for our investors.

The fight against climate change - and the infrastructure investment required to win that fight – is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build an inclusive clean energy economy that works for all of us. We can’t blow it. 

Three stories worthy of your time this month –

A big welcome to Sean Dew as he joins the Sunwealth team as a Project Associate. Our team is growing – and so is our impact.

We’ll release our Annual Impact Report this month – stay tuned. We’re proud of our growth, the social and environmental impact of what we do, and the 17 consecutive quarters of target returns to investors. Most importantly, we hope it’s just the beginning! 

Until next month,

P.S. – Don’t forget to continue the conversation by following us on TwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram!

Jon Abe