SAN FRANCISCO-Renewable Ventures LLC, a locally based financier and operator of renewable energy generation facilities, has been acquired by Municipal Mortgage & Equity LLC, a Baltimore-based real estate financial services firm better known by its nickname, MuniMae. The combination of the two organizations signals acceleration in the flow of institutional capital into the renewable energy sector.

Renewable Ventures will remain headquartered in San Francisco and continue to be run by CEO Matt Cheney, according to MuniMae. Renamed MMA Renewable Ventures, MuniMae’s newest operating brand joins MMA Financial and MMA Realty Capital.

MMA Renewable Ventures will focus initially on investments in solar energy. It also will consider opportunities in other renewable energy technologies and markets, such as wind, biofuels, biomass, biogas, and geothermal energy generation.

In explaining the acquisition, Cheney says 56 megawatts of new photovoltaics were installed last year in the US, a 37% increase over 2004. “With a 30% federal tax credit now in place and various states lining up to spur long-term investment in the sector, demand for solar energy and other renewables is expected to reach new heights,” Cheney says.

MuniMae is the largest sponsor of affordable housing tax credit equity investments in the US. Cheney says combining that financial strength and investment expertise with Renewable Ventures’ experience and deal flow made the deal worth doing. The terms of the agreement were not released by the parties involved and not otherwise immediately available.

“Renewable Ventures’ innovative financing model has attracted a high-quality, diversified project pipeline; we’re joining forces to offer MuniMae’s investor clients access to that pipeline,” says MuniMae chief executive Mike Falcone. “As clean energy power facilities are increasingly built in conjunction with the development of housing and other properties, we see synergies between our core real estate finance business and our new renewable energy offerings growing stronger.”

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