Perch Energy raises $30M from Nuveen to accelerate community solar growth

Perch solar
A solar project owned by DSD Renewables, managed by Perch Energy. (Photo credit: DSD Renewables)

Perch Energy has secured a $30 million investment from real estate investment management firm Nuveen.

This Series B growth investment will support the continued development of Perch’s leading clean energy technology platform, fund expansion into new sales channels, products and community solar markets, scale operations and customer care services, grow management talent and fund strategic partnerships.

“Nuveen’s financial and strategic support comes at a pivotal moment which will not only accelerate Perch’s growth and clear focus on supporting our solar developer clients, but will create opportunities for consumers of all economic backgrounds to join in on clean energy savings, especially the millions of people who can’t afford or don’t have a home suitable for rooftop panels,” said Bruce Stewart, president and CEO of Perch Energy.

The partnership will also provide Perch with access to Nuveen’s strategic portfolio of affordable housing units and residential apartments. Reaching low-to-moderate-income (LMI) consumers is key to democratizing solar energy and ensuring that the clean energy future is equitable. Nuveen’s established real estate portfolio combined with Perch’s scalable and easy-to-use service will help get community solar to more households who stand to benefit most.

“Perch’s community solar platform allows everyone to access the cost-savings of solar power, especially those who need it most, while supporting a cleaner energy future,” Stewart said. “Bolstering Perch’s already robust anchor, commercial, residential and low- and middle-income customer acquisition capabilities, Nuveen’s investment and affordable housing portfolio makes us even stronger to deliver on our client’s capacity targets and to meet the LMI mandates in both state and federal IRA regulations. Most importantly, it broadens our horizons for delivering discounts on electric bills to those facing barriers to entering the clean energy economy.”

Nuveen is a pioneer in impact investing. The Private Equity Impact team seeks to drive an inclusive transition to a low carbon economy, targeting disruptive businesses that reduce waste and emissions, use resources in a circular manner and expand access to and reduce the cost of basic products and services for underserved consumers.

“Community solar is key to providing a renewable energy option to those Americans who do not have access to rooftop solar,” said Radhika Shroff, managing director, Private Equity Impact at Nuveen. “We are excited to bring our impact expertise and broader Nuveen platform to Perch to provide inclusive access to solar savings for households.”

Nuveen Real Estate is one of the largest investment managers in the world with $151 billion of assets under management. The platform ranked as the 7th largest apartment owner in the 2023 National Multifamily Housing Council Top 50 list and has direct equity investments in over 30,000 affordable housing units and 20,000 multifamily units in states with existing or planned community solar regulation. The investment presents an immediate opportunity to bring community solar to more low-to-moderate-income LMI households, who stand to benefit the most from electricity bill savings.

“In most cases, access to community solar is the only way to make it possible for households residing in affordable housing to participate in solar programs, and in turn support the necessary strategies to combat global warming. Perch is establishing a wonderful roadmap for affordable housing developers and residents to focus on energy efficiency for a clean, resilient future,” said Jason Acosta, head of asset management, Impact Investing at Nuveen Real Estate. “This partnership will assist Nuveen in extending its mission of providing high-quality services that elevate the lives of our valued residents and add stability to the surrounding community.”

Today, Perch provides acquisition and management services for more than 140 active community solar projects owned by the top developers and asset owners. Following its launch as an independent company in 2021 and announcement of its Series A closing, Perch has doubled the number of clients and markets it serves while continuing to expand with current clients, increased its management capabilities, has contracted more than 250 MW and grown contracted annual recurring revenue by approximately 30% in six quarters.

Marathon Capital LLC, an independent investment bank delivering strategic financial advice to the clean energy, sustainable technologies, and infrastructure markets, served as financial advisor to Perch.

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