A San Francisco-based renewable energy fund, CleanPath Ventures, announced plans today to invest $800 million over a period of about five years into the development and construction of large-scale, solar photovoltaic projects. The company’s chief executive and co-founder, Mike Cheney spoke at the Renewable Energy Finance Forum in New York, today revealing a goal to help bring more than 1,000 megawatts of clean energy to the U.S.
A managing director with CleanPath Ventures, John Balbach (formerly a managing partner at The Cleantech Group) told TechCrunch in a phone interview on Tuesday:
“We’re in a new era in cleantech investment where it’s less about innovation and more about financial solutions to put things in the ground at scale. The build out of solar in the U.S. is just hitting a stride like it did in Europe 5 years ago. We see tremendous potential in emerging markets in the U.S., and just south and north of the border.
We will invest where solar power can be price competitive [with traditional energy sources]. Exactly where we decide to invest will be influenced by a number of factors. The regulatory framework is important, but so are the natural resources and issues like transmission, population and solar resources in a given area. That mix, like the economic equation for solar, changes over time.
Texas will be a very interesting market, as will the Midwest over the next five years. These areas have gone through some wind development, already.”
Serial solar financiers Matt Cheney and Karin Berardo started CleanPath after spinning out and selling an earlier energy fund, MMA Renewable Ventures to Fotowatio in 2009. Fotowatio is a solar-focused fund and developer of utility-scale power generating facilities based in Spain, with a significant role in developing solar projects throughout Europe and Australia.
CleanPath’s new fund will provide capital, credit and expertise in large-scale solar photovoltaics facilities to: project developers, utilities, builders, businesses, governments and land owners primarily in the U.S. The projects it funds will range in size from 5 to 100 megawatts and will use photovoltaic equipment rather than other, less-tested solar technology for large-scale facilities like BridgeSource’s solar power towers.
FRV is a global operator specializing in the generation of electricity using the sun as the source. Since it was founded in 2006, it has developed and operated numerous large projects based on photovoltaic and thermosolar technologies. Its activities are focused on operating a portfolio of projects that are both technologically and geographically diversified. With presence in Spain, the USA and Italy, FRV is one of the leading operators in the solar sector and among the top three growth companies...
Cleantech Group helps business leaders make smarter, more strategic decisions involving cleantech innovation. The leading analyst team covers global investment trends as well as the smart grid, energy efficiency, energy storage, smart water, and green transportation sectors. The i3 Platform provides web-based, comprehensive, up-to-date information and insights into companies, investors and relationships across the clean technology ecosystem. Cleantech Group also produces the premier Cleantech ForumÂ® and Focusâ„¢ events worldwide. Details are available at http://cleantech.com.