Dealflow | November 30, 2022

Swell Energy’s $120 million raise points to the energy grid of the future

Amy Cortese
ImpactAlpha Editor

Amy Cortese

ImpactAlpha, Nov. 30 – There’s a place for large, centralized power plants and the giant private equity firms that write big checks to finance them. But smaller, distributed systems provide resilience.

“The world is moving to smaller, distributed power plants,” Greenbacker Capital’s Jeff Sheridan told ImpactAlpha.

The New York-based independent power producer and asset manager teamed with Softbank this week to lead a $120 million investment in Swell Energy.

Santa Monica-based Swell aggregates residential and business solar and battery storage into “virtual power plants” capable of offloading the grid. The funding will help Swell finance 26,000 additional rooftop solar and storage systems throughout the U.S. 

Local developers

Greenbacker made the investment out of its $142 million Development Opportunities Fund, which provides flexible capital to emerging renewable energy developers. “We’re trying to make sure that there’s a diverse and resilient business out there,” said Sheridan.

The investment in a VPP provider was a first for Softbank’s Vision Fund, which is better known for its big, and lately losing, bets on tech unicorns. “Our capital,” said Sheridan, “helps someone like Softbank be more comfortable with the process.”

Ares Infrastructure Opportunities fund and Ontario Power Generation Pension Fund also participated in Swell’s round.