Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), a recognized leader in energy innovation, is a “think and do” tank, that advances and scales solutions for a global transition to renewable energy and energy efficiency. Their partners include the Empire State Building, Lucid Technologies, and World Wildlife Fund – and now CollectiveSun®.
RMI and CollectiveSun® along with Sol Energy, PAE, SunPower, Black Bear Energy, and Holy Cross Electric (RMI’s local utility provider) collaborated to create a unique finance model for the solar PV system on RMI’s Innovation Center.
“A solar financing solution that strengthens our relationships with donors, helps achieve our net-zero strategy, and provides a direct return-on-investment is quite innovative, and we worked with a number of different parties to make sure that we have that really flushed out and to a level that can be scalable across the country, to other non-profit organizations and small businesses.” --Craig Schiller
The Rocky Mountain Institute Innovation Center is “the most energy-efficient building of its type and size (15,610 SF) in the coldest climate zones in the U.S., with an estimated energy use intensity of 17.2 kBtu/SF.” (The average commercial energy use intensity is 82 kBTU/SF.) This building serves as the RMI headquarters, a meeting space, and a demonstration lab for commercial green building practices and NetZero operations. An 83 kw solar-electric system is mounted on the Innovation Center’s roof and generates approximately 114,000 kWh each year.
According to RMI, their “approach is to focus on unlocking market-based solutions that can be replicated and implemented now.”
CollectiveSun® has created a solution for nonprofits to overcome the upfront capital costs of going solar. As a social enterprise, CollectiveSun® can access tax incentives that nonprofits don’t qualify for. A Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with our nonprofit partners allows us to extend the value of these rebates to them.
CollectiveSun® also draws together “cause investors” with interest in supporting nonprofit solar PV projects through our crowd-lending platform. Some projects have been funded by one or two large investors, while others are the product of dozens of investments from $25 to $25,000.
Lee Barken, CollectiveSun®'s founder and Chief Community Officer, attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for RMI's Innovation Center in the snow-covered Rocky Mountains in December. The solar system was generating power to exceed the whole building's energy needs, even in the depths of winter.