In other words, Altus quickly morphed from using its own money for demos to selling investments in its building projects to commercially minded investors. And the principals developed a sales pitch that eschews talk of rising sea levels in favor of terms like IRR (internal rate of return) and cash flow. “The question any investor asks is how much cash flow they’ll receive,” Norell says. “We have delivered annual returns of 8 to 10 percent to our investors.” (The offering documents he showed me bore that claim out.) And in a world of exceedingly low interest rates—a 10-year U.S. government bond pays interest of only about 2 percent per year—that’s quite appealing.They don't have to appeal to scare-tactics that global warming will make the seas 100 feet higher by 2020 or other nonsense. This company Altus, is putting solar panels on roofs and cashing in tax credits and creating a revenue stream out of the power. This revenue stream is pretty solid and recession-proof too because these building owners will be paying their power bill in good times and bad. Also they probably won't be taking these panels off of their roofs if they are cutting their electricity bill by $200,000.
The only thing that would sink Altus would be a cut on solar subsidies. They need some powerful Democratic backers and this kind of thing might appeal to the GOP as well. That party doesn't like the idea of big government going to patronage like Solyndra but public/private partnerships is what the GOP loves. They can also look so anti-environment by backing the idea of solar panels popping up all over the US and allowing investors to make money in the process.