In the race to get businesses and communities to adopt solar energy, speed is of paramount importance, Dave Riess, founder of Wunder Capital, said.
Adoption in the U.S. is heading the right direction: costs associated with solar energy implementation have fallen 70 percent and installations have increased by 49 percent over the last decade, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. Still, solar energy only represents 2 percent of the world’s electricity output, according to Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems.
While hardware like solar panels might be the first thing that comes to mind regarding solar energy, Riess said that software like Wunder’s will be the technology that truly accelerates adoption rates.
The company’s software streamlines the lengthy financing process for commercial buildings such as schools, municipal buildings and other businesses, helping them adopt solar energy in a couple of weeks, rather than multiple months. The platform covers applications, underwriting and closing, and has financed 185 megawatts worth of commercial solar projects (enough energy to power hundreds of thousands of homes) since 2016.
According to Riess, however, this is only the beginning for solar.
“Over the next decade, we will see the cost of deploying solar continue to decline precipitously, and with those cost reductions, investing in solar will become even more compelling than it already is today,” Riess said.
The clean energy champion shared with Built In Colorado how Wunder Capital sits at the center of ushering in a greener future, below.
What is the most significant impact technology has had on the solar energy industry?
Today, we’re standing on the shoulders of giants. We’re deploying photovoltaic technology that’s the byproduct of decades of research and development during the latter half of the 20th century. More recently, we’ve seen dramatic cost reductions in the last two decades. More than 50 years of advances have brought us here and have given rise to the rapidly growing solar market we now enjoy.
With all of that said, we’re only scratching the surface. We now have efficient zero-carbon energy technology. The task ahead is to deploy as much of it as possible, as quickly as possible. It’s clear that software will be the technology that has the most profound impact on solar going forward, unlocking heretofore unseen levels of growth and ushering in our renewable energy future.
Software will be the technology that has the most profound impact on solar going forward.”
How has your technology transformed the industry?
In order to mitigate the impacts of climate change, we need to quickly deploy zero-carbon energy technology at a staggering scale. This is the perspective that Wunder brings to everything that we do, and it sets us apart from other actors in solar. Our software and internal capabilities are designed to drive extremely high levels of standardization into the development and financing of solar energy systems. It’s through this standardization that we are able to support rapidly increasing solar capacity and project volume.
What do you envision for the future of solar?
Historically, our energy infrastructure has been built around centralized hydrocarbon-based energy generation facilities. The future of energy is clearly distributed, and the queen of distributed energy technology is solar. Over the next decade, we will see the cost of deploying solar continue to decline precipitously, and with those cost reductions, investing in solar will become even more compelling than it already is today. As the solar industry grows up and reaches increasing levels of scale, Wunder will be at the center of enabling that growth.