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Nelnet, freshly announced a controlling investment of GRNE Solutions, LLC, (GRNE), an affiliate of GRNE Solar, a top Midwest solar engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC), firm. Nelnet also acquired some solar assets from GRNE’s affiliate, including some that are currently producing power, and others that are being built. The transaction was completed on July 1, 2022.
GRNE designs and installs, and maintains commercial and utility-scale solar systems throughout Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri. Soon, it will also be expanding into Colorado. The company’s solar projects usually produce between 1 and 5 megawatts (MW) of power. GRNE offers services such as battery backup, electric vehicle charging and energy monitoring.
Eric Peterman and Jess Baker founded GRNE in 2012. They are based in Palatine, Ill. The company’s co-founders will still be the leaders of GRNE, but they will retain a minority interest. Today, GRNE employs more than 80 people in seven offices located in the service area.
Scott Gubbels (Nelnet executive director for tax and renewable energy), said that “we are excited to partner Jess, Eric, and the GRNE Team to accelerate their growth plans and our diversification in solar development. The GRNE team is well-known for its values and culture as well as high-quality execution and management of construction. We will work together to create a unique solution for the renewable sector, including EPC services and financing solutions.”
Nelnet is an innovative and diverse company. It also includes Nelnet Renewable Energy, a brand that focuses on renewable energy solutions and offerings. Nelnet Renewable Energy offers significant value to its customers and partners in various industries through tax-equity investment, tax co-investing platform, and community solar subscription. Nelnet Renewable Energy’s initial investment was in 2018 and has since expanded its solar investment portfolio to over $240 million, with co-investors. It also invested in more than 200 projects. Nelnet Renewable Energy also manages thousands more subscribers for its community partners in solar development.
“This acquisition is a great opportunity for GRNE’s growth and Nelnet to expand into the renewable energy sector. We will continue to achieve amazing things thanks to Nelnet’s track record of scaling and growing the business, as well as GRNE’s industry knowledge. Solar energy is a crucial component in achieving the future energy goals, and we are proud of being part of that solution,” stated Jess Baker (co-founder and president of GRNE Solar).
The acquisition brings together two businesses that are complementary and understand the urgent need for renewable energy. GRNE has more than a decade’s experience in solar engineering and construction. Nelnet’s financial strength, years of customer service experience, and asset management expertise will allow them to meet their growing demand.
Gubbels stated, “With Nelnet’s investment in GRNE we have planted another seed towards a cleaner future.”