RE-volv provides solar energy financing to nonprofit organizations across the United States. Based out of San Francisco, RE-volv has completed 47 solar energy installations that will, over their lifetime, prevent more than 183 million pounds of CO2 emissions and create a total of $18.7 million in electricity cost savings for nonprofits. In addition to providing financing, RE-volv educates and trains local leaders to develop solar energy projects through the Solar Ambassador program. The Solar Ambassador program has trained over 350 individuals (mostly college students) to date.
How might RE-volv scale through new & sustainable earned revenue strategies?
RE-volv would like to become financially self-sustaining and explore new earned revenue strategies for the organization in order to reduce its reliance on the fundraising cycle and help it scale in the next three to five years. To date RE-volv has relied primarily on grants and donations from individuals and foundations to fund its operations. Solar project financing has come through crowdfunding donations (until 2019), a tax equity partner (who also paid RE-volv consulting fees and project success fees to help them deploy its capital), and now through impact investing and recoverable grants.
RE-volv requests ACT’s help exploring new earned revenue strategies, including (but not limited to):
1. Earn a developer fee from the solar projects RE-volv installs going forward, and explore structures utilizing tax equity investment
2. Create a job pipeline from Solar Ambassadors to solar companies and get paid to do so by the companies and/or government
3. Develop new partnerships focused on solar lead generation
4. Scale up corporate sponsorship
5. Create a member-owned cooperative for RE-volv’s self-financed solar projects
The organization would like to understand which of these approaches (or others) are the most viable, and how RE-volv might pilot one or more of them. Related to this exploration are organizational development questions around how best to staff and resource the leading earned revenue pathway(s).