SAN FRANCISCO-Solar arrays will be popping up atop large low-rise buildings in California thanks to a new partnership. Recurrent Energy, a locally based start-up that builds, owns and operates solar power systems on its clients’ rooftops has consummated a partnership with Morgan Stanley that will give it $200 million to work with over the next few years.

Recurrent CEO Arno Harris tells the partnership is in the form of a new fund that Recurrent is managing and Morgan Stanley is capitalizing. Recurrent is in the midst of negotiating long-term, multi-building lease agreements with REITs and pension funds and, with the tenants of their buildings, power purchase agreements.

“There’s been no incentive for institutional property owners to put solar arrays on their buildings because they don’t pay for it, it’s a pass through to tenants,” a source familiar with the partnership tells With this new business model, he says, building owners gain rental revenue and a green feature with no out-of-pocket expense, tenants get “green” power at or below their current utility rate and Recurrent gets to sell the power its rooftop equipment generates.

The financing package follows $10 million in start-up capital the company obtained earlier this year to get itself off the ground, says Harris, who entered the solar power business six years ago when he founded Prevalent Power Inc., which he sold in 2005 to EI Solutions. Harris says he stayed on with the company as general manager after the sale, helping it land the contract for the nation’s largest corporate solar installation at Google’s corporate headquarters in Mountain View. Powered up earlier this year, the 1.6 megawatt system is enough to power 1,000 homes.

With his new business, Harris’ goal is to “move away from one-roof, one sale and get to a point where we can do portfolio financings.” The plan is only to build solar arrays on the rooftops of buildings where the tenants already have agreed to purchase the power, which is to say they won’t be installing the arrays speculatively. “We like to see the tenant there when we first build it,” he says.

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