Over the past two years, Green Charge Networks and Stem have been racing each other for the title of top behind-the-meter battery startup -- and for funding to back their no-money-down deals for customers. On Thursday, Green Charge announced its latest step -- a non-recourse debt financing of $20 million in planned projects, and another $30 million awaiting new projects in 2016.

Non-recourse debt is the primary financing method for large-scale energy projects, including most solar energy projects. It also carries a higher risk to the lender, since it is secured only by the collateral of the projects it funds, not the borrower’s corporate assets, and relies on ongoing revenues to pay back the lender.

That’s made it a rarity for the energy storage industry, which hasn’t yet built up the real-world track record and performance data that solar has. In November, developer RES Americas completed a utility-scale battery project financed by non-recourse debt. Green Charge CEO Vic Shao said in a Wednesday interview that it's the first such financing for behind-the-meter energy storage.

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