LOUISVILLE - Real Goods Solar Inc., which recently rebranded as RGS Energy, announced on Tuesday that it has formed a joint venture with Altus Power America Management that will mean the development of up to $150 million in new commercial solar projects.

Louisville-based RGS Energy builds, designs and installs solar projects for both commercial and residential customers. Altus, based in Old Greenwich, Connecticut, invests in and manages solar projects. The new venture formed by the pair is dubbed RGS Energy Asset Management LLC.

RGS Energy spokesman Ron Both said the new entity provides a financing relationship that will help RGS Energy expand its footprint and gain new projects. RGS Energy Asset Management will own and manage the projects financed by Altus and built by RGS.

"Our partnership with Altus is unique in that it takes advantage of best practices from both organizations developed over many years of solar energy experience," Andrew Zaref - vice president of project finance at RGS Energy and president of RGS Energy Asset Management - said in a press release. "It also represents RGS Energy's first foray into asset energy ownership and long-term asset management, as well as creates a great platform to fuel growth and access to untapped and new markets."

The release stated that RGS and Altus will jointly manage the pool of capital, helping to streamline customer acquisition, engineering, construction and project monitoring for RGS Energy.

"Altus and RGS Energy are working together to solve many of the issues that have prevented large scale and repeatable deployment of affordable solar power," Altus managing partner Lars Norell said in the release. "We anticipate that this initial deployment of $150 million of capital will be the first of many as we partner with RGS Energy ... to create and enhance value for both organizations."

Both said most of the projects targeted by RGS Energy Asset Management would be commercial projects smaller than 1 megawatt.

The joint venture will offer customers power purchase agreements and "other financial solutions," according to the release. No specific projects have been named, but the first ones are expected to be operational as early as the second quarter of this year.

Both said he was unsure whether the new arrangement would lead to new jobs for RGS Energy, which employs more than 150 people in Colorado and has 17 offices nationwide.