Renewable energy is a booming business for Bluegrass Energy, and the company has received a $500 million round of investment from Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba.
Bluegrass will use the funds to expand its presence in markets like Texas and Oklahoma and create new products for customers.
Bluegrasses goal is to “bring value to our customers,” and the $500M is a large chunk of money.
But there are a few problems with Bluegrass, which is headquartered in Oklahoma.
First, it’s been around for more than 30 years, and it has little experience selling energy to consumers.
In fact, Bluegrass was the second-oldest energy company in the US only to American Electric Power.
This is despite the fact that Bluegrass is the third-largest solar panel manufacturer in the country.
In an attempt to build up its customer base, Bluegrasts latest round was led by Chinese tech giant Tencent, who is also known for launching its own energy company, SolarCity.
Tencent invested $350M in Bluegrass back in 2015, but this round was the first of its kind.
The company is also still looking for a buyer, which may be the biggest challenge for Bluegrains new CEO, Dave Brown, and his team.
Brown has been leading Bluegrass since he joined the company in 2013, and he has been pushing the company to scale up and make it competitive in the market.
“I think Bluegrass has been able to make great progress and we’re just now beginning to really make a name for ourselves in the industry,” said Brown.
The first round of the funding is expected to be released in the coming months.
“We are excited to have an opportunity to bring Bluegrass to a larger audience,” said Bluegrass CEO Dave Brown in a statement.
“Our commitment to the local community, and our commitment to providing a better product and service to our members, are the core pillars of our success and we are thrilled to receive this round of financing.”
The funding will also allow Bluegrass an opportunity “to build the infrastructure necessary to make Bluegrass a leader in energy,” according to Brown.
He also added that Bluegrays “continued to improve” the service the company offers to its customers, including a new “premium” tier that provides a discounted rate for customers with solar panels.
Blue Grass has also been in the business of building solar arrays in the past, but it has never received a round of capital.
“Bluegrass is proud to be the first company in Texas to receive a $50 million loan from Alibaba,” said Green Tech Ventures President Scott Ritter in a company blog post.
“The investment in Bluegrass, combined with our continued leadership in Texas, is the best investment in the Texas solar industry in recent memory.”