UC invests in solar power developer 8minute Solar Energy

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8minute Solar Energy, the “largest independent solar power developer in the USA,” according to its website, announced Thursday that it has received a “significant” investment from the UC system.

The funding will be used for solar projects to expand 8minute’s 15-gigawatt development pipeline to 18-gigawatts, which will be enough to provide electricity for up to 20 million people, according to a press release from 8minute. The investments will also be directed toward a new solar power plant design with battery energy storage.

Private investment firms J.P. Morgan Asset Management and Upper Bay Infrastructure Partners also recently gave money to the company.

“While the financial markets, especially tax equity, face uncertainty right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 8minute as a company is financially very well positioned,” said 8minute President and CEO Tom Buttgenbach in the press release. “We’re fortunate to take the long-view and continue our growth trajectory to deliver clean, reliable power—day and night—for less than the cost of fossil fuels.” 

8minute’s goal is to increase access to solar power throughout California and the southwestern United States, and, according to the press release, these new investments will advance the timeline of the company’s ability to do so.

The company is “excited” to have the Office of the Chief Investment Officer of the UC Regents as an investor, said UC Berkeley alumnus and 8minute Chief Financial Officer Ross Trenary in an email. Buttgenbach said in the press release that he hopes, through this partnership, 8minute will eventually make solar energy more accessible across the country.

“We see this as a powerful opportunity to align with world-class research labs and technology centers at the forefront of energy innovation,” Trenary said in the email. “We look forward to collaborating with the University of California system as we set new industry standards not only in scale, but also innovation.”

Kate Finman is the university news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @KateFinman_DC.