DFJ Growth Leads $90M Round for Green Lender Renovate America

Renovate America, a San Diego company that finances solar panel installations and other sustainability-focused imrpovements for residential and commercial buildings, said yesterday it has raised $90 million in a growth equity round led by DFJ Growth.

Founded in 2009 by J.P. McNeill and Nick Fergis, Renovate America began making clean-energy loans to homeowners in 2011, according to Severn Williams, a spokesman for the company. The company had raised about $85 million before the latest round.

Renovate America partners with local governments across the United States to provide Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing, which helps homeowners lower their utility bills, save energy, reduce air pollution, conserve water, create new jobs, and increase property values.

Through the first four years of its Home Energy Renovation Opportunity program, Renovate America said it has provided over $600 million for such projects.

In San Diego, the city council voted to approve several PACE financing programs in 2012. In a statement released yesterday, Renovate America said 347 cities and counties in California have adopted the program, including San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Santa Ana.

PACE programs are typically administered by companies like Renovate America and allow commercial property owners to tap municipal bonds to help finance energy efficiency improvement projects. President Obama highlighted the PACE program at the National Clean Energy Summit in August as an important tool to help accelerate an American clean energy “revolution.”

CEO J.P. McNeill addresses Renovate America team

CEO J.P. McNeill addresses Renovate America team

Under PACE, private financing provides the upfront capital needed for energy-efficiency retrofits, so local government remains unburdened. Property owners pay for the retrofits through assessments added to their annual property tax bill, and benefit from increased building values and lower energy costs.

Renovate America said Silver Lake Kraftwerk joined DFJ Growth as a new investor in the round, which was joined by previous investors RockPort Capital Partners, Valor Equity Partners, DB Masdar, and 400 Capital Management.

The company said the venture investment would be used to expand the market that Renovate America serves.

“We believe Renovate America’s [Home Energy Renovation Opportunity] Program is the largest and most innovative residential PACE program in the U.S.,” Silver Lake Kraftwerk’s managing partner, Josh Raffaelli, said in a statement issued by the company. “With consumers financing around $159 billion in home improvements that conserve water and save energy, we see a significant opportunity to help Renovate America revolutionize how home improvements are identified, selected, and financed across America.”

The company’s program provides communities with software products and training services that help local contractors with financing energy- and water-savings improvements. Renovate America said there have been more than $950 million in improvements financed through its program’s PACE financing in California, and the company has securitized more than $600 million in PACE bonds.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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