SMP 66: How Relationships Allow an Investor to Scale Ownership of Solar Projects
Play • 38 min


Episode Summary

In this episode of Solar Maverick, Rich Walsh shares his journey to founding Madison Energy Investments with his two other partners, why Madison Energy Investment focuses on the Commercial and Industrial (C&I) solar market, and their goal of owning solar projects in every state.  The overall discussion is a very high-level look at trends in the solar industry, the complicated financing of solar projects, and where to continue to find value in solar sectors.


Benoy Thanjan

Benoy Thanjan is the Founder and CEO of Reneu Energy, as well as an advisor for several solar startup companies. Reneu Energy is a premier international solar energy consulting firm and developer, and the company focuses on developing commercial and industrial solar, as well as utility-scale solar plus storage projects. The company also sources financing for solar projects and hedges both energy and environmental commodities. Reneu Energy has brokered $27 million in environmental commodity transactions. 

Benoy received his first experience in Finance as an intern at D.E. Shaw & Co., which is a global investment firm with 37 billion dollars in investment capital. Before founding Reneu Energy, he was the SREC Trader in the Project Finance Group for SolarCity, which merged with Tesla in 2016. He originated SREC trades with buyers and co-developed their SREC monetization and hedging strategy with the senior management of SolarCity, to move into the east coast markets. Benoy also worked at Vanguard Energy Partners, Ridgewood Renewable Power, and Deloitte & Touche.


Richard Walsh

Rich oversees all activities relating to business development and strategy at Madison Energy Investments.  This includes project origination, new market analysis and partner and customer relations. Rich spent 5 years at WGL Energy where he led business development activities related to solar.  He originated over $300 million of projects across dozens of state markets with clients ranging from the federal government to professional sports teams. Rich also previously worked in renewable energy advisory with Sterling Planet.  Rich currently serves as the US Representative for the World Energy Council’s future energy leaders programme. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science from Samford University.


Insights from this episode:

  • Details on how Madison Energy Investments was founded, the partnerships they formed, and the role they play in the solar investment industry.
  • How to differentiate your company using diversity, assuming risk, and adding value.
  • Benefits of building strong, long-term relationships with developers of solar projects.
  • Details on community solar projects and other solar programs across the United States that Madison Energy Investments is involved with.
  • Secret to creating a strong business brand in a specialized market by identifying where that market has the most need.
  • Benefits of creating many good partnership opportunities instead of focusing on only one large scale opportunity.


Quotes from the show:

  • On the company motto Certainty, Speed, and Trust: “It’s to remind us that every time we introduce ourselves to someone we truly mean we are going to do exactly what we tell you we are going to do and we’re going to do it fast.” – Richard Walsh, Episode #66
  • “The only way to get [larger scale projects] is to aggregate, the only way to aggregate is to have a team that understands what they’re doing, that has experience, and the only way to find the deals is to have long-term relationships.” – Richard Walsh, Episode #66
  • On what makes Madison Energy Investments successful: “The whole key is being able to aggregate and manage assets effectively, which we have shown we can do both of those.” – Richard Walsh, Episode #66
  • “We hope to be in every single state at some point and we will probably be in 20 by the end of next year (2020).” – Richard Walsh, Episode #66
  • On the challenges faced by smaller solar energy firms: “It’s very difficult if you’re not one of these large energy companies that has a very experienced energy department, to understand the contracting [for solar financing].  It’s very difficult to get renewable energy.” – Benoy Thanjan, Episode #66 
  • On being in the Commercial and Industrial (C&I) market: “There is this massive disconnect, this massive gap between community solar and utility-scale [projects] that is rife with opportunity.” – Richard Walsh, Episode #66 
  • On the importance of diversified partnerships: “If you work with one partner and do one deal you’re losing money as the owner and operator.” – Richard Walsh, Episode #66
  • “Always the first transaction is the hardest to close and then it becomes more scalable [with] more transactions.” – Benoy Thanjan, Episode #66

Resources Mentioned:

5 Observations on the Commercial Solar Market  by Richard Walsh for GreenTechMedia

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel

Transition Renewable Energy Credit Program (TREC)


Stay Connected:


Benoy Thanjan


LinkedIn: @bthanjan



Richard Walsh


LinkedIn: Richard Walsh

Website: Madison Energy Investments


We would like to thank Silverline Communications for sponsoring this episode of the Solar Maverick Podcast.

Sillverline Communications, an integrated marketing and PR agency focused on clean and emerging tech, is headquartered in DC with satellite offices in Chicago and Salt Lake City.
What defines them? They are: Independent. Agile. Absolutely invested in their clients and their teams.
They are storytellers and connectors at heart, grounding programs with insights to achieve real business objectives and shape outcomes that influence markets and policy. They use every tool in the communication arsenal to translate complex ideas into breakthrough campaigns that drive stakeholder action. The team that gets it done? Silverline Communications. Strategic, smart professionals with unrivaled expertise in energy, policy and emerging technologies.
In short:  They know their stuff.
They believe in what they do. They believe in what their clients do. When their clients succeed, the world is a better place.
To learn more about Silverline, go to  You can reach Silverline at 703-286-5500 or

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This episode was produced and managed by  Podcast Laundry (

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