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Durango-based King Energy joins forces with ClearGen to expand commercial solar projects

$150 million will be going toward company’s rooftop solar plans nationwide
The King Energy office is located at the Main Mall at 835 Main Ave. Suite 215. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

King Energy, a Durango company that delivers solar solutions to large, multi-tenant properties, has received $150 million to help fund commercial projects.

The funding comes by way of ClearGen LLC, a capital investment firm based out of Charlotte, North Carolina.

ClearGen was formed in 2020 by asset management firm Blackstone to provide flexible capital to developers in the clean energy sector.

“At ClearGen, we are more than financiers; we are catalysts for growth,” said ClearGen CEO Rob Howard in a news release. “Empowering partners with efficient capital to source new customers and aggressively grow their business is our goal. King Energy’s ability to overcome historical challenges in multi-tenant assets showcases their market leadership.”

While based in Durango, King Energy services multi-tenant commercial buildings in California, New Jersey and Maryland. The company manages more than 125 solar programs, serving more than 10 million square feet of tenant space.

Typically, these are shopping centers, medical plazas and business parks.

More recently, the company has been interested in projects in the Denver-metro area but has not yet broken into the Durango market.

That is because La Plata Electric Association does not have a tariff that allows King Energy to install solar panels and then sell energy in a multi-tenant building, said King Energy CEO John Witchel.

Witchel, who is a member of the LPEA Board of Directors, said the main reason for this has been a lack of demand – but that may be changing.

“Solar energy provided two main benefits,” Witchel said. “Particularly when used with batteries, it can provide a significantly lower cost of energy. And they can provide some protection against blackouts.”

King Energy’s projects eliminate the need for upfront funding from property owners or tenants, according to a news release from the company. Now, with the help of ClearGen’s funding, the company can speed up growth by constructing more panels on properties throughout the United States.

Utilizing King Energy’s billing software, OneBill, the benefit of solar energy is provided to tenants at what King Energy says is a significant cost savings.

“We sell our energy at 10% below what they would have paid if they had pulled the energy off the grid,” Witchel said.

King’s strategy is to go to property owners and lease the roof from owners. Then, King sells the energy to the building tenants at below retail cost.

This process doesn’t require the landlord to spend money on the solar project.

“We pay the landlord for access to their roof, so it’s win-win-win (situation),” Witchel said. “The landlord makes some additional rent income, the tenants receive a lower cost of energy and we’re able to build a system using the money that we raised from ClearGen.”

The model is supposed to generate a new revenue stream for property owners, which increases long-term property value but also delivers cost savings.


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