Perch Receives $30 Million Investment from Nuveen for Equitable Clean Energy Access

Solar farm in Massachusetts used for Perch Energy community solar program

(Credit: Perch Energy)

by | Oct 12, 2023

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Perch Energy said it has received a $30 million investment from Nuveen to provide cost-saving solar energy to low- to moderate-income consumers.

Nuveen, asset manager of TIAA and a major real estate investment manager, is partnering with Perch in order to bring community solar projects to affordable housing units and residential apartments. Community solar includes solar projects that reach multiple customers, in this case, households and apartment buildings. This makes access to solar energy more affordable as installing solar panels on a home is often costly and not an option for renters or apartment dwellers.

The partnership contributes to Nuveen’s impact investment portfolio, which seeks to contribute to an inclusive, equitable energy transition, also targeting businesses that are working to reduce waste and emissions. Perch Energy is one such business–the company oversees 140 community solar projects that allow participating customers to receive energy credits on their electric bills. Residential households and businesses may sign up for community solar without any upfront cost, also saving money they would otherwise owe their utility company.

“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,” said Jason Acosta, head of asset management for impact investing at Nuveen Real Estate. “Perch is establishing a wonderful roadmap for affordable housing developers and residents to focus on energy efficiency for a clean, resilient future. 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.”

Low-Income Solar Projects on the Rise as Demand Increases

According to a report by LIFT Solar Everywhere project, the low- to moderate-income households segment represents one of the fastest-growing players within the solar industry. The report found that while cost savings were certainly important to community solar subscribers, most cited their primary motivation for participating in a given community solar program was helping the environment.

The report also said that there are more houses eligible for energy assistance via community solar than may currently be served. Nuveen and Perch are working to fill this need, with Nuveen already maintaining direct investments in more than 30,000 affordable housing units and 20,000 multifamily units with existing or planned community solar regulation.

“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.

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