Apollo invests $175m to scale US off-grid solar

Apollo is progressing against its $100bn-target climate strategy with an investment in Summit Ridge, a community solar operator 'expanding access for underserved communities'.

Apollo Global Management has invested $175 million into a company that – according to partner Corinne Still – “expands access for underserved communities to participate in the clean energy transition”. The deal marks a significant step in Apollo’s plan to invest $100 billion towards the climate by 2030.

Summit Ridge is an operator of community solar assets – local solar panel apparatus for individual properties that remove residents’ and organisations’ reliance on the grid for power. The company provides “clean energy savings in urban and low-to-moderate income markets” in the US, with users subscribing to local solar farms at discounted rates to market energy prices, according to a statement from Apollo. Summit Ridge will use Apollo’s capital to increase its solar output to 500 MW and its battery storage assets to 100 MWh over the next 18 months.

Apollo did not disclose which funds it is making this investment from, or whether it is deploying debt or equity capital. Earlier this year, the firm launched a sustainable investing platform with a goal of investing $100 billion towards combatting climate change by 2030, including $50 billion over the next five years. As part of this platform, Apollo is raising a private credit climate fund and plans to launch a private equity climate fund later this year.

“We see tremendous opportunity to access a high-growth segment of the renewables market while also producing positive environmental and social outcomes for local stakeholders,” Wilson Handler, a partner on Apollo’s deal team, said in the statement. Handler and Still are joining Summit Ridge’s board as part of the deal.

Apollo is not the first private markets firm to invest in off-grid solar: General Atlantic’s climate investing arm, BeyondNetZero, acquired emerging markets-focused Sun King from Apis Partners. While Sun King serves customers who otherwise do not have grid power, Apollo’s deal with Summit Ridge is notable for its focus on US customers already connected to the grid.

Rising energy prices and grid instability in the US have made energy access an important issue. Still said: “We expect to have a significant positive impact on communities by facilitating increased uptake of renewable energy sources, creating local jobs and developing sustainable infrastructure.”