3 Best Practices for Energy Investors to Get the Most Out of Your Data

Posted by Haresh Patel    September 12, 2014

Everyday you collect thousands of points of data. From transactions that you close to those that fall through the cracks, there’s data to be collected. Even conversations with prospects, clients, and competitors offer opportunities to collect valuable information.

Of course, if you don’t collect the right data.. “data is garbage in garbage out.” It also doesn’t have much value if you don’t do anything with it. Regardless of industry, successful companies know how to collect the right data and get the most out of it and translate it into information. They parse information for valuable insight and then they turn that insight into action. Information and insight is worthless, unless it has the power to change a decision.

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The Fight for Low-Cost Capital Part II: REITs

Posted by Haresh Patel    September 2, 2014

In part I of this series, we talked about how it is now more important than ever for solar companies to position themselves to leverage new opportunities for capital. The companies that are best able to efficiently deploy capital, close deals, and return cash flow to investors will win the fight for capital.

As discussed in part I, yieldcos represent the best current opportunity for low-cost capital. However, new opportunities lie on the horizon. Perhaps one of the most exciting is the real estate investment trust. Long used as a way to raise capital in the real estate industry, REITs are gaining steam as renewable energy capital mechanisms.

What is a REIT?

A REIT is a type of company that invests primarily in real estate for the purpose of distributing income back to its owners. REITS were created by Congress in 1960 to encourage large-scale investments in commercial and income generating properties. Today, all REITS either invest in or manage real estate or invest in or underwrite mortgages for people to buy real estate.

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3 Best Practices For Investors in working With Solar Developers

Posted by Haresh Patel    August 29, 2014

Does this sound familiar? You and a developer reach a deal on a project. Everything looks good. You have the pricing in place. The project appears to be shovel-ready. You’re ready to close the deal and move on to the next one.

Then everything changes. After doing their diligence, the analysts and legal team tell you that the pricing doesn’t line up. The project either needs to be renegotiated or dropped. Now, instead of closing a deal, you’re figuring out how to save it.

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4 Important Lessons Solar Companies Can Take From The Mortgage Industry

Posted by Haresh Patel    August 22, 2014

One of the benefits of being in a relatively young and evolving industry is that we can learn from more established industries and apply those lessons to our own processes.

The mortgage industry is a great place to look for guidance. Here are four key takeaways that solar companies can put in practice to increase automation and streamline their efforts:

Disciplined processes. The most successful mortgage companies have extremely defined origination and underwriting processes in place. Each person in the process has a specific role and they only do the tasks assigned to that role. There’s no ambiguity or uncertainty around what each person’s tasks are to move the application towards closure.

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The 1 Thing That Can Help Investors and Developers Close More Deals

Posted by Haresh Patel    August 18, 2014


A few weeks ago, at the Intersolar Conference in San Francisco, we had the privilege to moderate a panel on how solar investors and developers can work better together. The panel was moderated by our own Tim Buchner and included Todd Michaels of SunEdison, Kate Sherwood of Solar City, Pablo Otin of Gestamp Solar, and Erik Stuebe of Ecoplexus Inc.

We covered a wide range of topics, but everyone seemed to agree on one thing that could benefit both investors and developers. Communication. Specifically, how can developers and investors improve their communication to close more deals in less time?

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3 Best Practices for Deal Screening and Diligence

Posted by Haresh Patel    August 8, 2014

Lessons learned from the pharmaceutical industry

How much do you think the average pharma company spends to bring a drug to market? A few hundred million? A billion?  

Try several billion. A 2012 study from the InnoThink Center for Research in Biomedical Innovation found that pharma companies spent between $3.6 billion and $12 billion on each drug that they had approved between 1997 and 2011.

You may be wondering why these numbers are so big. The answer - because for every drug that is approved, pharma companies have dozens that never make it out of R&D.

You may also be wondering what any of this has to do with solar. It turns out, a lot. When it comes to deal screening and diligence, there are some very valuable lessons that we can take from the pharmaceutical industry

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Can PACE Transform the Commercial Solar Segment From an Ugly Duckling Into a Swan?

Posted by Haresh Patel    July 28, 2014

Do you have big plans to leverage the growing commercial & industrial (C&I) market? If so, then an innovative new financing structure called PACE should be part of your strategy. In the states where it’s available, PACE financing is eliminating some of the barriers that have limited solar in the C&I space.

PACE stands for Property Asset Clean Energy. There are different variations of PACE lending, but they all basically work the same way. PACE funds lend money to building owners to makeenergy efficient investments. That loan is then paid back through tax assessments over a long period of time.

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Why Is Your Cost of Origination So High?

Posted by Haresh Patel    July 22, 2014

Did you know that a typical origination team only spends about 20 percent of its time finding and closing deals? Does that surprise you? If you tallied up the way your origination team spends their time, would the results be different?

Here at Mercatus, we’ve worked with dozens of solar investors, utilities and independent power producers around the world and have helped assess over 4000 projects that add up to 20GW  worth of solar projects. That experience has given us insight into how companies operate and where they have opportunities for improvement.

Last year, we surveyed originators at some of our clients. We wanted to learn about the challenges they face, what tools could make them more effective, and how we could help them be more successful. One of the most interesting pieces of information from that survey was how originators spend their time.

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Commercial Solar Poised for Takeoff

Posted by Haresh Patel    July 17, 2014

Led by retailers and spurred by government action, more and more businesses are making renewables part of their energy strategy. Not surprisingly, solar plays a big part. Commercial use of solar has soared over the past year, driven by price reductions and tax incentives.

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The Fight for Low-Cost Capital Part I: Yieldcos

Posted by Haresh Patel    July 2, 2014

348cd8cAfter decades of research, development, and evolution, solar is finally knocking on the door to become a mainstream energy source. Prices have come down to rival those of traditional energy sources. Financing mechanisms have made solar readily accessible for households and businesses across the country.

There’s only one obstacle keeping solar from busting through: widespread access to low cost capital.

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