CAP Solar New Jersey 1 LLC is a unique green technology business collaboration that specializes in the implementation of solar energy projects designed to lower operating costs for Community Action Agencies (CAAs) and other non-profit organizations (NPOs) serving low-income communities throughout New Jersey.
SAVINGS THAT HELP FURTHER CORE MISSIONS
Established in 2011, CAP Solar enables CAAs and other NPOs to reprogram their energy cost savings into program funding that furthers the work of their core mission, while dramatically lowering their carbon footprint.
CAP Solar is an affiliate of Greater Bergen Community Action, Inc. (GBCA), which spearheaded the effort to achieve lower and stabilized electricity costs by aggregating the non-profit market to achieve economies of scale.
To comply with legal and tax regulations, GBCA created CAP Solar NJ 1, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary. This subsidiary owns 51% of CAP Solar NJ 1 LLC. As an NPO, GBCA is continually seeking avenues to diversify its sources of revenue and building a more sustainable organization. Through this structure and investment, GBCA can apply market-based solutions for the purpose of furthering the mission of the agency, generate new revenue streams, and address social needs.
GOLDMAN SACHS URBAN INVESTMENT GROUP
CAP Solar New Jersey’s $10 million investment is financed by Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group (UIG). This investment takes advantage of the New Market Tax Credit which incentivizes UIG to invest in economically distressed communities as defined by the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund at the US Department of Treasury. It is paid back, in part, by other tax-driven incentives: Solar Investment Tax Credits, Federal 1603 Grants, and accelerated depreciation in order to realize a return on capital.
The remainder of the investment is paid back through revenues earned from participant consumption of solar energy and sales of solar renewable energy credits (SRECs). The project receives no government grants. After a 10-year period, when Goldman Sachs exits the project, CAP Solar will own all of the solar assets outright. CAP Solar is self-sustaining due to the revenue earned through power payments from nonprofit program participants.
HIGH QUALITY PARTNERS
CAP Solar’s unusual partnership draws upon the financial expertise of a Wall Street investment bank (Goldman Sachs); an organization with significant experience in energy and environmental services (Compass Point South); a solar installation business (Mercury Solar Systems); and GBCA, an innovative Community Action Agency that has been in the home energy cost reduction business for many years.
Well more than 100 properties applied to participate in the first phase of the CAP Solar program.
CAP Solar has completed the installation of more than two megawatts (enough to power 2,000 homes) of solar energy-producing panels on 36 non-profit operating facilities throughout New Jersey, placing 50% or more of its resources in economically distressed census tracts.
These facilities included child care centers, healthcare clinics, hospitals, schools, and other community facilities. For a map of these locations, click here.
CAP Solar’s creation was cited in GBCA’s National Entrepreneurship and Innovation award (presented at the 2012 Annual Community Action Partnership Conference), in the category of Energy Efficiency and Sustainability.
Most recently, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, IREC, named CAP Solar its Community Renewables Project of the Year for 2015 as part of its 3i Awards for Innovation, Ingenuity & Inspiration in Clean Energy.