Less than 30 minutes west of downtown Portland, Maine, sits Little River Flower Farm, where Bruce and Nancy Stedman have been growing MOFGA certified flowers and produce for over 15 years. Looking to grow year round, diversify and scale their production, the Stedmans decided to invest in an ArchSolar integrated solar greenhouse. CEI stepped into finance the deal with a $480,000 loan, including a $200,000 participation by CEI Investment Notes, Inc.
“One challenge of helping small farms scale production and adopt year round agriculture is capital. CEI is filling that need for capital, allowing farmers to increase their margins and contribute to regional food systems more predictably and with better returns.”
–Tony Kieffer, Founder, ArchSolar
The greenhouse features flexible solar panels integrated into the glazing, supplemental lighting and heat storage systems, making it not only economically sustainable but also environmentally sustainable.
“CEI was able to understand, on the energy and agricultural side, what we were trying to do with this project,” said Bruce Stedman, Owner, Little River Flower Farm.
From an underwriting standpoint, there were no projects to compare it to in terms of greenhouse design and energy production and savings, making a deep understanding of both the renewable energy sector and the agricultural sector critical to closing the loan. “We’re incredibly excited about the greenhouse, and the ability to expand our growing season while lowering our energy and operating costs,” said Stedman. “CEI understood the innovate nature of the project from the get-go and worked with us at every step to see us through to closing.”
Read more about CEI’s commitment to the renewable energy sector here: interview with John Egan, SVP of Lending and Investment.