Risk vs Reward, Building Trust and Growing Business.
Have you ever wondered why some deals happen and some deals fall through?
Finance is often part of the reason – maybe not the only reason, but part of it.
When two people (or companies) want to work together – to build a solar array, for example – they are each going to be careful to protect their investment. Fundamentally, they are each asking themselves “What are the risks between me and the reward for this solar array?”
Part of being efficient in doing what you do every day is narrowing the range of the risks you accept. If you climb a ladder every day, you quickly get quite adept at determining how safe the ground where you put your ladder is, for how high you want to go. If you must rethink that risk every time to place your ladder, you won’t get many jobs done, and you might have to move to a different line of work to make a living.
And the key to a long life of good reward with low risk is repeat business – doing things SO well that people trust you to do right by them repeatedly, they spread the word, and more people trust you to do things well. Soon, you’re making a living.
Similarly, when an investor looks at a solar array and wonders, “Hmm – should I finance or buy this array?” – he or she knows a lot about the risks involved in what they normally invest in. We at Green Lantern have worked with investors who were extremely comfortable investing in the stocks and bonds of large capitalization and publicly traded companies and governments. So, when we started the business of pitching solar arrays to them, they had a hard time figuring out where on their normal risk-reward curve this new business opportunity was going to fit.
In terms of a sustainable business model, this kind of investor probably is not going to be a long term, repeat buyer of solar arrays, so a solar developer needs to find an investor (or group of investors) that is comfortable with the risks inherent in developing, funding, constructing, owning and operating a solar array.
Over our 10-year history, Green Lantern has found investor groups from all over the country. We started with private investors, then local, large institutions, and moved to Morgan Stanley and other national players looking for solid solar opportunities around the country.
Those solid solar opportunities depend on a highly specific skill-set that can understand and predict the regulatory and production capacity and cost that feed into the financial performance of a solar array. A solar asset’s lifecycle performance depends on a good site for the array, a creditworthy offtaker to receive the power or “bill-credits” for the electricity produced by the array, a reliable and knowledgeable construction crew, a great operations & maintenance team with the engineering understanding to dive deep into electrical issues when the array is up and running, detail-oriented asset management, good insurance partners, and a great team of consultants and legal eagles to get the array safely and effectively permitted.
Green Lantern has all those elements as a vertically integrated company with 10 years’ experience in developing commercial-size solar arrays. As we move into new states, markets and regulatory regimes, we bring that experience and ability to get stuff done.
Bill Miller is a founding partner and serves as Green Lantern's CFO. Bill has over 30 years of experience in finance, including 20 years as CFO and VP of Finance in the financial services, construction, development, and manufacturing sectors. Bill has conducted complex financial modeling for a wide variety of real-estate and development projects, and has domain expertise in financing, funding, grant, and tax credit strategies. In addition to his work with Green Lantern Solar, he regularly consults with community groups and local government agencies on development and budget issues.
Bill has a BA from UCLA, and a PhD from the University of Michigan.