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Apollo invests $175M in community solar developer Summit Ridge Energy

Alan Neuhauser
Jul 13, 2022
Illustration of a man working on a solar panel with a money overlay

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Apollo has invested $175 million in Summit Ridge Energy, a community solar owner-operator that's developed a 300-MW portfolio in the U.S.

Why it matters: The chunky private equity investment suggests there's strong appetite for community solar projects, even as the sector is expected to contract this year amid supply chain disruptions and the Commerce Department's anti-circumvention investigation.

Catch up fast: Community solar projects enable residents and businesses to buy electricity from a nearby solar array.

  • "You can create these assets and subscribe to them in a Netflix-like way, and that enables a lot more people to have solar access than if you were to have it on someone’s roof," Apollo partner Corinne Still tells Axios.

What's happening: Summit Ridge, based in northern Virginia, is among the largest U.S. solar owner-operators focused exclusively on community solar.

  • "We’ve tried not to be all things to all markets and all things to all customers," Summit Ridge CEO Steve Raeder tells Axios. "We're never going to be a utility-scale developer."
  • Its projects are largely concentrated in Illinois, Maryland and Maine.

Zoom out: Community solar had a banner year in 2021, per a report by Wood Mackenzie for the U.S. solar industry. But the Commerce investigation, combined with supply chain woes and long interconnection queues, are expected to slow the sector's growth this year.

  • "The uncertainty related to the anti-circumvention investigation has prevented some developers from acquiring enough equipment to build projects this year," the consulting firm said.

The bottom line: "Industries are always facing one headwind or another," says Apollo's Still. "Summit Ridge has been procuring out ahead of their pipeline and their project development."

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