RG 110 – Investing in Solar Energy for CASHFLOW with Bryan Birsic
- Bryan left his day job to found a start up in solar energy
- Bryan has been interested in finance since he was 12
- Bryan is the CEO and founder of Wunder Capital
Nuts and Bolts
Bryan is the co founder and CEO of Wunder Capital, he is a finance and capital raising expert who previously worked in private equity investing. Prior to working in solar he worked at Bain Consultancy and in commercial lending companies. Bryan made his first dollar while growing up outside Pittsburg working on the land, his first job was in a steel factory shovelling coal onto conveyor belts. When Bryan was a child his father bought him single shares in local Pittsburg companies including 1 share in Heinz. This started his interest in the stock market and he and his father would go through the Sunday papers each week to track the success of their shares. He studied economics at university and went to work for private equity companies, he was drawn to start-ups and joined a venture capital firm which gave him great experience in getting companies off the ground.
Bryan moved into the work of solar energy when he saw the market shifting and exciting changes happening in solar. He had worked with so many start-up founders in the venture capital firm that he caught the bug and wanted to start something himself as well. Solar has been on a consistent technology cost curve meaning that the buying and construction has been going down by 10% a year for 40 years. The last 5 years have seen a more significant decrease in costs of 50% which means that now good financing packages are possible. The market is expanding and is on a tipping point in the US. Efficiency of solar energy has improved by 50% over the last 10 years and is now at 20% efficiency which can cover between 60-80% of energy consumption for a building. Bryan offers 5-7 year payback periods on his financing packages including a down payment, like buying a mortgage. The client technically owns the system while they’re paying it off, however if they get behind on a payment Bryan can come and collect the system in lieu of payment.
The start up got off the ground through crowdfunding – $20 million at first and then partnering with banks that owned warehouse facilities. The company has several offers on the website once you’re signed up; there’s an education section to help you understand solar power, there are key explanations on why to go commercial rather than residential with the packages, there’s a cost saving estimate tool for borrowers and the investment team on live chat. The solar package doesn’t penetrate the property to it isn’t involved with the property debt structure. The package isn’t directly monetized, it’s better to think of it as an ongoing stream of electricity that has a financing package to make it cost effective for that building – as long as the building is occupied you should be able to sell electricity to the tenant