IMPACTASSETS 50™

An Annual Showcase of Impact Investment Fund Managers

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An Annual Showcase of Impact Investment Fund Managers

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ImpactAssets 50: A Global Landscape of Impact Investment Fund Managers
The ImpactAssets 50 (IA 50) is the first open-source, publicly published database of experienced private debt and equity impact investment fund managers.
https://www.impactassets.org/impactassets-50

ImpactAssets 50

An Annual Showcase of Impact Investment Fund Managers

IA 50 2022 PROFILE

Sunwealth Power, Inc.

Total Assets Under Management: $50 – 99M
Asset Class: Private Debt - Absolute Return / Notes, Private Equity
Primary UN Sustainable Development Goal: 7 – Affordable & Clean Energy
Clean Technology, Alternative Energy & Climate Change
Small/Medium Business Development
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Firm Overview

Category: Private Debt - Other

Sunwealth is a clean energy investment firm on a mission to change who benefits from renewable energy by changing the way we invest in it. We envision a future where renewable energy is accessible, affordable and inclusive. We invest in that future by financing and managing high-performance renewable energy projects in the built environment that deliver clean power, cost savings and quality jobs to “solar deserts,” including low-income communities and communities of color. Sunwealth partners with skilled local solar installers, community organizations, local businesses and investors to bring solar access to houses of worship, schools, nonprofit organizations, businesses, municipalities and low-income households.

Firm Headquarters: US & Canada
Years of Operation: 5 – 9 years
Total Assets Under Management:
$50 – 99M
Total Number of Investors: More than 25
% of Capital from Top 3 Investors: 25% – 49%
Investment Thesis:

We need to invest in clean energy; applying an inclusion lens to the community-scale solar market allows us to invest in a way that creates meaningful economic and environmental benefits for underserved communities, strengthens local businesses and increases resilience – while delivering strong, stable, predictable financial returns to investors. 

Investment Overview:

Clean energy plays a critical role in the fight against climate change; it can help fight systematic inequality.  Sunwealth is changing who has access to renewable energy by changing the way we invest in it. We focus our efforts on “solar deserts” – financing community-based solar projects, particularly in LMI communities and communities of color where clean energy, green jobs and energy savings are needed most. We partner with investors and local solar installers to bring small-scale projects (5kw to 1MW) to the rooftops and parking lots of schools, municipal buildings, houses of worship, nonprofit organizations and small businesses, building diverse and inclusive portfolios that deliver clean energy access and savings to our customers, jobs and revenues to local solar installers, and strong, stable returns to investors. Our economic inclusion lens helps build a clean energy future in which all of our communities have a stake.

Company Differentiator:

Sunwealth invests in renewable energy with a specific focus on creating solar access and economic benefit for underserved communities. We believe it’s not just about how much clean energy we build; it’s also about where it’s built and who benefits. Sunwealth invests with an economic inclusion lens, building projects that provide meaningful economic benefit for local communities and investors. We ensure that every project we finance creates meaningful long-term savings for our customers, revenues for local developers and strong, stable returns for investors. Sunwealth's market of small-scale community-based solar projects is overlooked by traditional solar investors because of the high transaction costs associated with underwriting and because of their focus on traditional credit metrics like S&P ratings or FICO scores for determining creditworthiness of solar customers. Our rigorous underwriting process focuses on understanding the underlying value in our market, and helps ensure financial and operational performance.

Investment Example

Sunwealth partnered with Coalfield Development, a community development nonprofit and West Virginia-based solar developer Solar Holler to install 294 solar panels on the roof of Coalfield’s West Edge factory in Huntington, WV. The installation – one of the largest solar projects in West Virginia and the largest powering a community nonprofit – included a solar apprenticeship and job training program for 15 local residents, allowing them to learn the foundations of renewable energy technologies while supporting the continued development of central Appalachia’s solar workforce. The array produces enough power to offset all electricity usage at West Edge, a location focused on workforce redevelopment and social enterprise incubation, providing Coalfield with $135,000 in lifetime energy savings. “If any place deserves pivotal investment in the next wave of energy, it’s the region and people that have historically powered the world,” said Coalfield Development’s Jacob Hannah, “With this project, we’re doing just that.” 

Leadership and Team

Cumulative Leadership Experience in Investing:
30 years or more
Cumulative Impact Experience of Top Three Firm Leaders:
30 years or more
Jonathan Abe – Chief Executive Officer More Info

Jon is a renewable project developer, financier, and asset manager with deep commercial solar transaction experience. Previously, Jon was a Senior Vice President at Nexamp, where he served as the head of business development, asset management, and policy. At Nexamp, Jon supported the development and financing of more than 40 MW of commercial-scale solar projects. He was also General Manager of Nexamp Capital, which controlled a diverse portfolio of solar assets. Additionally, Jon worked for the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust where he developed and managed the $68 million Commonwealth Solar program. Jon holds a BA from Cornell University.

Omar Blayton – Chief Financial Officer More Info

As CFO, Omar is responsible for creating and structuring Sunwealth’s investment portfolios for maximum financial performance and social impact. Prior to joining Sunwealth, Omar was Managing Director of Project Finance at Innova Energy Partners and before that, Vice President of Structured Finance at Greenskies Renewable Energy, a leading commercial and industrial solar developer. Earlier in his career, Omar was a Vice President with Reznick Capital Markets Securities and an associate in Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Leveraged Finance Group. Before entering finance, Omar was an attorney with Reed Smith LLP in its Investment Management group.

Jessica Brooks – Chief Development Officer More Info

Jess is an impact investing leader with over 15 years experience helping individuals and organizations align their investments with their values. Prior to joining Sunwealth, she was a Senior Vice President at Boston Community Capital, where she helped grow assets under management from $60 million to over $1 billion, leveraging over $5 billion in public and private investment in underserved communities nationwide. Jess previously served as Director of Communities and Affiliates at The New York Times Company, as an account manager at Abuzz, a technology start-up, and as a securities trader on Wall Street.

Percentage of Investment Professionals who identify as women:
25% to less than 50%
Percentage of Investment Professionals who identify as a person of color:*
50% or more
Percentage of Senior Management Team who identify as women:
25% to less than 50%
Percentage of Senior Management Team who identify as a person of color:*
50% or more
*People of color include: Black, Latinx, Asian, Native American/Alaskan Native, Pacific Islander, Middle Easterm and multi-racial Americans

Financial Performance

Target Financial Returns Relative to Benchmark:
Market Rates
Actual Performance Relative to Target Financial Returns in the Past Three Years:
In line with initial target returns
Financial Reporting Frequency to Investors or Donors
Annually

Impact Performance

Percentage of Total Assets Under
Management that are Impact Investments:
100%
Primary Impact Outcomes:
Addressing climate change and environmental issues
Creating jobs
Addressing Racial Inequality
Secondary Impact Outcomes:
Alleviating poverty
Conserving land, ecosystems and natural resources
Value-added Services Offered:
Access to markets
Other: Access to clean energy, energy savings, financing for projects

Investments systematically target companies where social and/or environmental impact is integral to the product/service being created:

Sunwealth's deal sourcing, due diligence and underwriting processes are designed to bring solar access to underserved solar markets, particularly low-income communities and communities of color. Evaluation of social and environmental impact is integral to every project we underwrite. We intentionally partner with local solar developers and installers to help grow their businesses, so solar jobs and revenues build a stronger regional economy. We encourage our partners to source and develop deep impact projects - with a particular focus on addressing income and race disparities in solar access and adoption - and we actively develop these projects ourselves. We screen all projects and customers for impact - qualifying the organization's institutional history, mission and roots in the community it serves. We look beyond standard credit reports to understand underlying ability to pay for power - and have found ways to underwrite projects w/ non-standard credit and/or households with low FICO scores.

Investments systematically include social and environmental sustainability practices in the due diligence process:

Sunwealth is working to build a more inclusive solar economy; we are also working to strengthen and diversify our local and regional solar development ecosystem. For this reason, we pay particular attention to the solar development and installation partners with whom we partner to develop solar projects in our portfolio. Our investment model provides an opportunity to strengthen the local supply chain - creating jobs, revenue and long-term income streams for small businesses and independent contractors who comprise the "green economy" work force. Recognizing that lack of representation among this workforce and the ownership of solar development companies creates an additional barrier to solar deployment in low-income neighborhoods and in communities of color, we are particularly focused on employee diversity and our partners' efforts to make solar jobs and training accessible to entry-level employees, especially from underrepresented communities. 

Impact Tracking and Monitoring

Impact is Tracked:
Yes
Social and/or Environmental Impact is Reported to Investors and Donors:
Yes – to the public
Third Party Validations:
Participant on steering committees or leadership roles within impact industry associations
Publisher or contributor to industry white paper or other research in impact investing

Learn More

Key Contact Name: Jess Brooks
Phone: 857-225-2169
Mailing Address:

2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Suite 540, Cambridge, MA 02140, USA

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