The investment marks Greenbacker’s entrance into floatovoltaics, a growing renewables sector
PVTIME – Greenbacker Capital Management, LLC (“Greenbacker Capital” or “Greenbacker”), a leader in sustainable infrastructure investment, announced today that, through an affiliated fund (the “Fund”), it has made an equity investment in Noria Energy (“Noria”), a California-based solar developer. Greenbacker’s growth investment will enable Noria to scale its platform, while executing on and expanding its existing pipeline of solar projects. This pipeline includes both ground-mounted arrays and solar installations that float atop bodies of water. With this investment, Greenbacker enters the floating solar space, or floatovoltaics, an emerging area of the renewable energy asset class with unique environmental and power production advantages.
Floating solar projects do not require valuable land area, instead making use of space otherwise left idle, like the surfaces of hydroelectric dam reservoirs, wastewater treatment ponds, or other calm bodies of water. They can also reduce algae growth and slow evaporation for the bodies of water they are installed upon. Floatovoltaic panels also experience a cooling effect from the water beneath, leading to greater and more efficient clean energy generation.
The nascent floating solar industry in the United States has significant opportunity for growth. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has estimated that installing floating solar on the 24,000+ manmade reservoirs in the US could meet about 10% of the country’s annual electricity needs.1 With Greenbacker’s investment, Noria is poised to expand in the space, having already designed, engineered, and co-developed the nation’s largest floating solar array, a 4.8-MW installation at the water reclamation facility in Healdsburg, CA.
Noria also offers behind-the-meter solar projects—built on land or water—which are systems that provide solar power directly to consumers without involvement from a utility. These systems can help customers reduce power bills, capitalize on renewable energy incentives, and meet their clean energy goals, while also offering insulation from grid disruption.
“Greenbacker is thrilled to partner with Noria to build our presence in the floating solar market,” said Ben Baker, Managing Director and Principal of the Fund. “The Noria team’s track record and innovation in the space, along with their overall solar development expertise, position them well to continue expanding and contributing to a clean energy future.”
Founded in 2018, Noria has operations in both the United States and Latin America.
“Collaborating with the Greenbacker team will allow us to scale and deliver creative solutions to our solar customers,” said Jonathan Wank, CEO of Noria. “Our mission at Noria Energy is to develop projects and solutions that lower barriers to solar adoption. We’re also driving innovation by working with the Department of Energy, municipalities, and commercial/industrial customers on solar projects that can improve water quality.”
Greenbacker established the Fund in 2020 to invest in companies focused on sustainable infrastructure development serving high-value markets across the United States.
1 “News Release: NREL Details Great Potential for Floating PV Systems | News | NREL,” National Renewable Energy Laboratory, December 27, 2018.