Friday, May 4, 2012

Morgan Stanley Backs $300 Million Fund To Install Residential Solar

Morgan Stanley is backing a $300 million fund to finance installation of residential photovoltaic systems – yet another sign that the turmoil roiling solar panel manufacturers has been a boon for installers.

Plummeting costs for solar panels have driven several solar manufacturers and developers into bankruptcy in recent months but the 75% price plunge of photovoltaic modules in the past three years have made rooftop solar increasingly attractive to homeowners and financiers like Morgan Stanley.

On Monday, SolarCity, a Silicon Valley solar installer backed by Tesla Motors chief Elon Musk, said it plans to file for an initial public offering. And two weeks ago, Sungevity, SolarCity’s cross-Bay rival, revealed plans to expand into the Australian solar market.

In the deal announced Thursday, Clean Power Finance – a San Francisco startup that offers software tools and financing to solar installers – Morgan Stanley’s MS Solar Solutions Corp, Zions Bancorporation and solar installer Main Street will create MySolar, a lease program to finance up to $300 million of rooftop solar arrays for homeowners in California and Arizona.

“The MySolar lease gives Clean Power Finance’s qualified network of solar professionals another affordable option to help homeowners immediately save money on their electricity bills,” Nat Kreamer, Clean Power Finance’s chief executive, said in a statement. More