Transforming Commercial Solar with Lumen Energy

Lumen Energy wants to revolutionize how small-scale commercial and industrial (C&I) solar energy systems are financed and installed across the United States. Lumen aims to be the first major ‘solar concierge’ service, allowing customers to install customized solar energy systems without having to find corporate partners, offloaders, and construction companies. Lumen works with owner-occupied buildings with total solar capacity needs under 50kW to finance and coordinate the installation of rooftop solar panels. Such projects are generally too small for traditional solar financing routes, which typically require much higher cost of capital.

 

Lumen offers investor-based financing for building owners, covering all maintenance and repairs for the duration of the contract and customers have to pay $0 to be onboarded. This reduces barriers to entry, complexity, capital requirements, and technology risk for the buyers. Building owners only have to pay for the electricity they commit to using, and get paid back the savings they realize by switching to solar.

Lumen transforms a fragmented, high touch, expensive, low volume incumbent process into a turnkey, digital, high volume operational process that is quick and streamlined by software and finance innovation consisting of:

  • Pre-screening tool, to identify buildings with high feasibility for energy efficiency projects
  • Virtual site assessment tool, which allows remote scoping of work
  • Buildings database containing tens of thousands of buildings nationwide, which powers the pre-screening and assessment tools
  • Workflow management tools
  • Financial optimization models, to provide energy project savings quotes to customers

How Lumen Energy helps C&I buildings achieve energy efficiency - 

Lumen Energy builds customized energy efficiency systems for each of its customers based on performance parameters like weather data, utility tariffs, grid wholesale energy cost, image sourced building features, etc. 

  1. Lumen Energy and the financing partners own the system
  2. The customer signs a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Lumen Energy
  3. Lumen provides services to the customers including – installation, maintenance, operations, and billing.

Lumen Energy evaluates the worthiness of the project on multiple criteria (building features, utility bills, roof quality, credit & term, energy tech, permits, grid prices and constraints) and converts the complexity of onsite energy into new income for its customers. 

What the company offers its customers are benefits in the following ways - 

  1. Offering services on a subscription basis - Customers can subscribe to the clean energy model on a subscription basis with zero upfront cost, paying lower costs than utility.
  2. Price Certainty - Customers get approximately 90% of the current consumption through solar energy at great and predictable prices, leading to reliable savings and no hidden costs.
  3. Enhanced Value - By deploying these services, customers can monetize the rooftop, reduce operations costs and boost property market value.
  4. No upfront cost - Lumen will finance, design, install, and operate the solar energy system. We partner with qualified solar installers who we trust to manage permits, the utility, procurement, and logistics.

Lumen is testing the waters of Regulation Crowdfunding by offering an Indications of Interest on Raise Green. The project they hope to finance through crowdsourced investment would be either five 15kW solar energy systems, or one 83kW solar energy system. These project would provide the host customer (the owners/managers of the C&I property where the solar energy systems are installed) with a 5-15% reduction in energy prices, while creating over $150,000 in solar tax credits over the life of the project. There are more than 5.8 million C&I buildings in the United States which could profit from deep efficiency retrofits and/or switching to solar energy. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) demonstrated that 5 common efficiency measures for C&I buildings in San Francisco would profitably reduce 22-48% of site energy per building! Lumen’s customers could be able to save ~$120,000 by undertaking such solar concierge services. For more information, visit Lumen Energy. For updates, visit the Raise Green Marketplace.

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