SUMMIT, N.J. — Nautilus, a leading full service solar solutions provider in the United States and Canada, led by Jim Rice, CEO and Laura Stern, President, has announced an investment and partnership in the company by Virgo Investment Group, L.P. (“Virgo” or the “Firm”). Virgo is backing a management buyout of Nautilus from an investment affiliate of Starwood Energy Group Global, LLC.
Nautilus is a leading, full service solar solutions provider serving the commercial and industrial (C&I) markets. Nautilus also offers a suite of asset management functions designed to enhance system performance, mitigate risk and protect value for solar asset owners.
The Nautilus team has constructed or managed over $400 million in solar systems throughout the United States and Canada since its formation nearly a decade ago, representing over 100 megawatts in nearly 80 different projects. Virgo’s investment comes at a strategic time for Nautilus as more end-users are adopting distributed solar as an alternative to utility-provided power.
As part of the agreement, Nautilus and Virgo will establish a dedicated finance vehicle to acquire and own distributed solar projects, as well as a funding facility for development and construction activities.
“The Virgo investment will allow Nautilus to further secure our robust position within the distributed solar development industry and gives us more flexibility to design, construct and manage our own assets while capturing growing demand,” said Jim Rice, CEO of Nautilus Solar Energy. “We are thrilled to have Virgo as an equity and project funding partner. We look forward to working with Virgo as we expand Nautilus Solar’s footprint.”
“Our strategy at Virgo is to support growing businesses in attractive market seams such as distributed generation. I joined Virgo earlier this year because I was confident that we could find experienced managers with deep industry relationships, such as the Nautilus team, and support these operators with Virgo’s creative financial capital and experienced human capital,” said Eli Aheto, a Partner at Virgo who leads the Firm’s energy investments. With this transaction Virgo will appoint Eli as a Director, and Perry Cole as a Director and the Chairman of the Board. Perry joined Virgo as a Senior Advisor and Operating Partner to source and support transactions in the energy sector after a distinguished and diverse 35 year career focused on the energy industry including 10 years in energy private equity. “I am excited to work with Jim, Laura and the entire Nautilus team to grow and expand their business in a dynamic and exciting industry,” said Cole.
About Nautilus Solar Energy, LLC
Founded in 2006, Nautilus Solar Energy, headquartered in Summit, N.J. is a leading full service solutions provider for business and public sector customers across North America. Nautilus is making solar possible by developing, funding, executing and managing the physical and financial aspects of distributed generation solar electric projects. The company delivers full service financial and technical expertise by customizing the optimal solar solution to save customers money while helping them meet their sustainability goals. Nautilus has been involved in over 100 MW—both distributed and grid tied systems—of solar solutions in the United States and Canada. Nautilus is minority owned by Virgo Investment Group LLC and its affiliates, based in Redwood Shores, California.
About Virgo Investment Group
Virgo is an opportunistic, value investor. Founded in 2009, Virgo has invested $735 million, completing 42 investments to date. Virgo invests in market dislocations and areas of corporate change targeting both less efficient market segments and identified themes (or “market seams”) in the firm’s core industries. A theme-based approach to idea generation, coupled with proactive sourcing, a flexible mandate and creative transaction structuring skills, allows the firm to create differentiated opportunities and target optimal risk-adjusted returns across market investment cycles. Virgo is an actively engaged investor that seeks to contribute ideas and human capital to the harvesting of value post-investment and has a history of partnering with founder entrepreneurs and management teams, like the Nautilus management team.