I must confess my bias before I continue. A big proponent of renewable energy, I’m eagerly awaiting the installation of solar panels on my home in the coming weeks. A project, which will ease the burden of paying a large utility bill each month and will ease the anxiety I feel every time I notice the whirring electric meter attached to our house.
Chase’s first time in the sun
With over 20,000 customers, Sunrun claims to be the nation’s leading home solar service provider, placing in service $1.5 million in home solar systems every day. The company has recently secured $630 million in financing, which will be used to support the purchase and installation of home solar projects across the U.S. One of the investors behind this is JPM Capital Corporation, a subsidiary of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM). This, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM)’s first foray into investing in residential solar, is not the first commitment they’ve made to renewable energy, though.
Since 2003, they have invested or arranged for over $6.7 billion in renewable energy projects. In 2010, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) raised $1.2 billion (including $960 million of J.P. Morgan capital). This helped finance 23 facilities totaling 780 megawatts and four geothermal plants. Among their renewable energy portfolio are 13 solar sites including 12 solar photovoltaic projects and the largest solar energy project built in more than a decade (Nevada Solar One, 64 megawatt solar facility).
Wells Fargo: $40 billion in 15 years!
One of the biggest investors in renewable energy is Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC). From 2005 to 2011, it contributed $11.7 billion to environmental business opportunities, and they have committed to provide an additional $30 billion in financing by 2020. In 2012, alone, they contributed over $6.4 billion to meeting that solar energy across 29 states. Cumulatively, this has helped to fund over 300 projects, which provided over 16 terawatt-hours of electricity in 2012. How much is 16 terawatts? It’s enough power to provide over 1.2 million homes with electricity for a year.
Two companies, which have benefited from Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC)’s commitment to solar are EnphaseEnergy and SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ:SPWR). Enphase, which designs, develops, and sells microinverters for the solar industry, received a $50 million commitment in 2012. Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC) and SunPower have partnered on several projects over the past few years, including a 1.1 megawatt system for the University of California at Merced, a 1 megawatt system for the Western Riverside County Regional Wastewater Authority, and a 7.5 megawatt project for the city of Phoenix.