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HOUSTON, TX — May 14, 2020 — Spruce Finance, the largest private owner and operator of distributed generation solar residential assets in the U.S., has bought Clearway Energy’s entire portfolio of residential solar assets. The deal is Spruce’s largest to date and the latest example of the company’s residential solar asset “growth by acquisition” strategy in the U.S.

The 53 megawatts (MW) of rooftop solar assets acquired from Clearway expands Spruce’s portfolio by 20 percent to more than 250 MW. This brings Spruce’s year-to-date portfolio growth to more than 30 percent, which already matches the 30 percent increase that the company achieved during 2019.

The deal also benefits Spruce’s independent subsidiary, Energy Service Experts (ESE), which has entered into a transitional asset management services partnership with NRG. As a result, ESE has grown to become one of the largest independent providers of residential solar servicing in America, with more than 70,000 customers nationwide.

“Despite the current global crisis, we expect strong and stable returns—both financial and environmental—from investing in a renewable future,” said Christian Fong, CEO of Spruce Finance. “The Clearway acquisition comes because of our strong relationships with others in the industry, and underscores our ability to stay the course in a challenging time. As a preferred sector in the broader energy and power industry, we are enjoying continued access to the capital markets and keep growing in our residential and distributed generation solar markets.”

News of the Clearway deal comes on the back of Spruce’s recent announcement that it closed a $124 million debt financing deal for its portfolio of residential solar power purchase agreements (PPAs) and leases with Vantage Infrastructure and Sequoia Economic Infrastructure Income Fund (SEQI). A portion of the capital infusion from those funds has been used to acquire the Clearway assets as part of Spruce’s strategic plan for expanding its holdings through organic growth and M&A activities.

About Spruce Finance

Spruce Finance (www.sprucefinance.com) owns and operates a growing portfolio of distributed generation solar residential assets in the U.S. Headquartered in Houston with executive offices in San Francisco, Spruce manages or owns more than 250 MW of installed capacity and is actively acquiring operating distributed solar PV assets in North America. Spruce’s independent subsidiary, Energy Service Experts (www.energyserviceexperts.com), provides comprehensive asset management services to solar and energy efficiency customers across the U.S.

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HOUSTON, TX — May 4, 2020 — Spruce Finance, the largest private owner and operator of distributed generation solar and residential energy assets in the U.S., has closed a $124 million debt financing deal for its portfolio of residential solar power purchase agreements (PPAs) and leases with Vantage Infrastructure and Sequoia Economic Infrastructure Income Fund (SEQI).  

The funds will provide a significant capital boost to Spruce’s M&A and organic growth objectives, as well as pay off an existing loan on its solar rooftop assets. In addition, the funds will be invested in corporate initiatives to provide enhanced customer service and experiences for the tens of thousands of solar homeowners under contract with Energy Services Experts (ESE), Spruce’s customer and asset servicing subsidiary.

“To raise $124 million in debt financing in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis is not only a remarkable vote of confidence in Spruce from Vantage Infrastructure and Sequoia Investment Management, but also an affirmation of distributed solar as a sought-after asset class by the capital markets in general,” said Christian Fong, CEO of Spruce Finance. “The benefits of this new capital infusion will be seen nearly immediately, as we work toward acquiring additional solar portfolio acquisitions in the near future, and further scale up customer service.”

“Several years ago, our team identified residential solar financing as a compelling investment opportunity for our clients. Investing in this space meets our responsibility to support the low carbon energy transition delivering positive environmental and social outcomes,” said Nick Cleary, Partner with Vantage Infrastructure. “As one of the first institutional investors in the distributed solar sector, we remain active in this space and are very pleased to have the opportunity to partner with the Spruce team to support the growth of their successful approach to rooftop solar asset acquisition and management, and their in-house, customer-centric operational capabilities through ESE.”

“Distributed energy infrastructure investment is only increasing, in our view,” said Dolf Kohnhorst, Director of Sequoia Investment Management, the investment adviser to SEQI. “Well-managed residential power is a core part of 21st century’s clean energy infrastructure and grid enhancement. We are pleased to be significantly supporting the growth of Spruce as part of this process.”

Legal counsel was provided by Troutman Sanders for Spruce and by Norton Rose Fulbright for the lenders. Key Bank Capital Markets served as financial adviser.

About Spruce Finance
Spruce Finance (www.sprucefinance.com) owns and operates a growing portfolio of distributed generation solar and residential energy assets in the U.S. Headquartered in Houston with executive offices in San Francisco, Spruce manages or owns more than 200 MW of installed capacity and is actively acquiring operating distributed solar PV assets in North America. Spruce’s independent subsidiary, Energy Service Experts (www.energyserviceexperts.com), provides comprehensive asset management services to solar and energy efficiency customers across the U.S.

About Vantage Infrastructure
Vantage Infrastructure (www.vantageinfra.com) is an independent investment firm comprising an experienced team, long-standing institutional relationships and a diverse equity and debt infrastructure investment portfolio with over US$4 billion invested in infrastructure assets across North America, UK, Europe and Australia on behalf of global investors. Vantage Infrastructure’s debt business has deployed over US$3.5 billion across more than 100 investments since 2012. Invested capital information for Vantage Infrastructure as at 31 December 2019. 

About Sequoia Economic Infrastructure Income Fund
SEQI (www.seqifund.com) is a FTSE 250 investment trust, which specialises in economic infrastructure debt. The company seeks to provide investors with regular, sustained, long-term distributions and capital appreciation from a diversified portfolio of senior and subordinated economic infrastructure debt investments. The company is advised by Sequoia Investment Management Company Limited.

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HOUSTON, TX — March 5, 2020 — Spruce Finance, the largest private owner and operator of distributed generation solar and residential energy assets in the U.S., has completed its second-largest acquisition to date.

The purchase of 3,668 rooftop solar assets totaling 27.6 megawatts (MW) from Greenbacker Renewable Energy Co. expands Spruce’s solar portfolio to more than 200 MW, further solidifying the company as a leader in the residential and commercial market. The acquisition also adds depth to the assets serviced by Spruce’s independent subsidiary, Energy Service Experts (ESE).

“With more than two million residential systems installed over the last decade, we see significant opportunity to consolidate an increasingly mature market through capital deployment alongside best-in-class servicing,” said Tim Distler, Vice President of Corporate Development at Spruce Finance. “Spruce’s primary growth strategy is centered on expanding asset ownership, and this deal with Greenbacker underscores our continued ability to do so.”

“Greenbacker is pleased to partner with Spruce on this transaction, which reflects our continued commitment in working with various partners across the renewable industry,” said Charles Wheeler, Chief Executive Officer of Greenbacker Renewable Energy Company. “By narrowing down our investment focus to C&I and utility-scale, we can provide strong returns for our investors through sustainable and impactful investing.”

The latest deal closed in early March, less than three months after Spruce acquired 31.3 MW of rooftop solar assets from Atalaya Capital Management in December 2019. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

About Spruce Finance
Spruce Finance (www.sprucefinance.com) owns and operates a growing portfolio of distributed generation solar and residential energy assets in the U.S. Headquartered in Houston with executive offices in San Francisco, Spruce manages or owns more than 200 MW of installed capacity and is actively acquiring operating distributed solar PV assets in North America. Spruce’s independent subsidiary, Energy Service Experts (www.energyserviceexperts.com), provides comprehensive asset management services to solar and energy efficiency customers across the U.S.

About Greenbacker Renewable Energy Company
Greenbacker Renewable Energy Company LLC is a publicly registered, non-traded limited liability company that acquires and manages income-generating renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, and other energy-related businesses. The projects in which we invest, such as solar and wind facilities, sell power under long-term contract to high credit worthy counterparties such as Utilities, Municipalities, and Corporations. For more information, please visit www.greenbackercapital.com.

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HOUSTON, TX — January 23, 2020 — Spruce Finance has completed its most significant solar portfolio acquisition to date.

Spruce’s purchase of 5,864 rooftop solar assets totaling 31.3 MW from funds managed by Atalaya Capital Management not only provides meaningful growth to its portfolio but also expands the assets serviced by its independent subsidiary, Energy Service Experts. The acquisition expands Spruce’s solar portfolio to more than 180 MW.

“This acquisition solidifies our growth strategy going into 2020,” said Christian Fong, president and CEO of Spruce Finance. “By completing our largest acquisition to date, we finish a banner year in which we grew our owned portfolio by over 30%. This acquisition again demonstrates Spruce’s ability to efficiently deploy capital into seasoned portfolios of residential or small commercial solar assets. We continue to actively seek similar opportunities.”

The deal closed on December 23, 2019, with Plexus Solutions serving as an advisor to Atalaya. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

By Kelsey Misbrener

HOUSTON, TX — JULY 11, 2019 — Spruce Finance, a leading owner and operator of distributed generation solar and residential energy assets in the U.S., announced it has acquired a significant portfolio of residential assets. The acquisition reflects Spruce’s growth strategy, which is centered around continued expansion of its operating portfolio and servicing platform.

Spruce’s acquisition of the fund, consisting of 2,169 residential solar systems totaling 12.1 megawatts, was closed yesterday. The purchase brings Spruce’s portfolio of operational solar assets to 173 MW of primarily residential solar assets serving over 25,000 customers across 11 states. The transaction follows a recent $50 million equity investment from Spruce’s owner HPS Investment Partners, a leading global investment firm with over $48 billion of assets under management, as well as a $208 million debt financing completed earlier this year.

“This acquisition reflects Spruce’s strategy of expanding by acquiring seasoned solar portfolios and adding value through best-in-class servicing,” said Christian Fong, president and CEO of Spruce Finance. “As one of the largest privately owned residential solar companies, Spruce is able to execute quickly due to our experienced team and flexible capital. We’re actively deploying capital into similar opportunities in the residential and community solar space and continue to evaluate additional acquisitions.”

The residential solar assets will be serviced by Spruce’s independent subsidiary, Energy Service Experts (ESE), which provides asset management services to more than $1 billion of residential solar assets. Houston-based ESE manages both Spruce’s own assets and third-party owned portfolios. Spruce’s latest acquisition enables further expansion and efficiencies for ESE.

HOUSTON, TX — MAY 16, 2019 — Spruce Finance, a leading owner and operator of distributed generation solar and residential energy assets in the U.S., announced it has received a $50 million equity investment from its owner HPS Investment Partners, a leading global investment firm with more than $48 billion of assets under management. The follow-on investment demonstrates HPS’ commitment to Spruce and the solar asset class, providing support for continued growth through acquisition of solar assets.

The investment comes as Spruce, the second-largest privately held residential solar company in the U.S., is actively pursuing opportunities to add operational solar assets to its 150 MW portfolio. Spruce is looking beyond residential portfolios and is also evaluating community and commercial solar assets.

Tim Distler recently joined Spruce as vice president of corporate development to lead the company’s project finance and M&A activity. Distler has extensive experience in solar financing, having led a solar development and finance platform for LG Electronics. Prior to LG, he was head of project finance at RET Capital and also held roles at Recurrent Energy, PG&E and E.ON Climate & Renewables.

“The continued support of HPS, paired with Tim’s M&A expertise, ensures that we have both the capital and the capabilities needed to acquire attractive portfolios,” said Christian Fong, president and CEO of Spruce Finance, “The growth of our team’s expertise and our financial resources set us up for a strong growth trajectory.”

The equity funding follows Spruce’s recent closing of a $208 million senior secured debt financing of its residential solar assets. Its independent subsidiary, Energy Service Experts, provides asset management services to more than $1 billion of residential solar assets, including both Spruce’s own assets and third-party portfolios. In November of last year, Spruce announced that it was acquired by HPS Investment Partners.

HOUSTON, TX — MAY 1, 2019 — Spruce Finance, a leading owner and operator of distributed generation solar and residential energy assets in the U.S., announced today the closing of a $208 million senior secured financing of its residential solar assets. The debt financing gives Spruce access to competitively priced capital, further optimizing its capital structure and positioning it to grow in new solar markets.

Silicon Valley Bank and ING both acted as coordinating lead arrangers and joint book runners. Key Bank acted as a joint lead arranger and there were several other participating lenders. The firms were chosen due to their position as market leaders in financing residential solar assets. Spruce’s ability to access competitive debt capital markets at scale reflects its position as a trusted market leader in the solar industry. Spruce is actively pursuing acquisition opportunities to add to its 150MW portfolio.

“As the solar financing landscape continues to evolve, we see an opportunity to grow our portfolio while providing integrated services,” said Christian Fong, president and CEO of Spruce Finance, “Our strong financing and M&A capabilities, paired with our subsidiary Energy Service Experts’ servicing offerings puts us in a unique position in the industry.”

In November of last year, Spruce announced that it was acquired by HPS Investment Partners, a leading global investment firm with more than $48 billion of assets under management. Spruce’s independent subsidiary, Energy Service Experts, services more than $1 billion of residential accounts, providing financial asset management, consumer billing and collections, fleet management and homeowner support.

HOUSTON, TX — NOVEMBER 19, 2018 — Spruce Finance, a leading owner and operator of distributed generation solar and residential energy assets in the U.S., announced today that it has been acquired by HPS Investment Partners, a leading global investment firm with more than $46 billion of assets under management. Spruce will be headquartered in Houston and maintain its executive and M&A offices in San Francisco.

Spruce also announced that Christian Fong, the co-chairman of the board of directors since early 2017, has joined the company as president and CEO. Fong has built multiple billion-dollar real asset businesses and has an extensive executive, private equity and policy background in the clean power and energy sectors. He was co-founder of Renewable Energy Trust Capital, where he led the acquisition and development of more than $1 billion in wind and solar projects. A key participant in the establishment of the yieldco industry, Fong also serves in leadership roles on the boards of Terraform Power and Fong Management, LLC.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, and the transaction took place through Spruce Holdings, a new corporate entity owned by HPS Investment Partners.

HOUSTON, TX — MAY 21, 2018 — Spruce Finance Inc., a manager for residential solar and energy efficiency assets and software provider, announced the formation and spin-off of an independent residential servicing company, Energy Service Experts (ESE), to expand its current asset management, operations, and maintenance solutions for third-party residential asset portfolios across the U.S. ESE’s solutions help other companies better understand performance drivers, accelerate resolution of issues in a cost-effective manner, and maximize the value of their portfolios.

The residential solar and energy efficiency markets have grown exponentially over the past decade and are expected to continue growing well into the next decade. Consumer-level asset servicing is experiencing a unique shift within the energy industry as distributed energy resources (DERs) expand and converge with consumer finance product servicing. Current energy servicing offerings are not well equipped to meet consumer-level asset servicing needs. However, ESE’s team has been meeting this need within Spruce since 2011, and now ESE offers that experience and service to the industry as an independent company.

As the market grows, there is a greater need for service providers that can deliver results to support consumer, technical and financial needs. ESE is uniquely positioned to meet this need in the industry since it has the largest portfolio of non-captive systems, extensive servicing experience for both third-party-owned systems and loan portfolios, and it provides the full scope of services through a single point of accountability.

ESE currently provides services to over 70,000 accounts comprising over $1 billion in assets. Other than ESE, there are no companies in the residential asset servicing space with the experience to understand and manage consumer credit profiles and payment behavior, manage maintenance of distributed solar assets, directly address both consumer technical and account-related inquiries, and generate fund financial statements. ESE is currently carrying out all of these activities on behalf of multiple asset owners including global financial institutions, utilities, consumer lending companies, cleantech venture funds, asset operators, and investment firms.

Jonathan Roumel, formerly Spruce’s vice president of operations, has been appointed president and chief operating officer of ESE. A longtime energy industry executive with extensive solar and renewables experience, Jonathan previously held executive operations roles at NRG Home Solar and BP Alternative Energy. Jonathan also served as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company, where he advised some of the largest global solar and renewable energy companies, and in risk management roles at Reliant Energy and Barclays Capital.

“I am excited to lead ESE as the energy industry shifts towards full-scope consumer servicing for distributed energy. We’ve set the stage for continued growth in the servicing sector as we maximize cash flow, minimize risk, and maintain a positive customer experience for asset owners,” said Roumel.