THE LEADERSHIP TEAM
Palmetto™ has successfully developed and financed more than $300 million in clean energy projects since its inception in 2009; we have an international presence with offices located in Europe and the United States. Our leadership team has originated, structured, financed and developed clean energy projects throughout Asia, Africa, Europe and America. In connection with these projects, the leadership team has provided services related to debt financing, equity financing and commodity structuring. The Leadership Team has managed contracts associated with wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, waste-to-energy, hydroelectric and waste heat, among others.
Chris Kemper, Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner
Mr. Kemper co-founded Palmetto™ in 2009. Mr. Kemper is responsible for the company’s day-to-day operations. His activities are focused on large customer accounts, capital raising and group-wide strategy.
Mr. Kemper built the North American and European operations with an emphasis on structure finance in the real estate and clean energy industries. The company has expanded from a finance company into a vertically integrated operator under the guidance and management of Mr. Kemper. Mr. Kemper has structured and launched five clean energy and property funds to grow Palmetto’s assets under management above a $30mm threshold. Mr. Kemper has also secured private investment to execute acquisition strategies, which have rapidly expanded Palmetto’s market share since 2009.
After co-founding Palmetto, Mr. Kemper pioneered the United States expansion plan in 2012; after relocation, he grew the team to forty-one team members including a wide range of skillsets to support the Company’s mission – lead the world towards a clean energy future. Palmetto has become a pioneering finance company with on-the-ground operations at the fulcrum of the clean energy and real estate industries, which puts Palmetto in a class of its own.
Mr. Kemper also secured the merger and acquisition of regulated financial service firms in both Europe and the United States to drive a programmatic clean energy finance agenda. Years later, the respective investment companies were divested upon a strategic decision to eliminate regulatory activity and vertically grow the Company – thus, giving Palmetto more control over its assets and building value in its management companies.
Mr. Kemper also led a wide range of larger structured finance transactions including a large 210MW wind farm in western India, 90MW wind farm in southern India, a 30MW series of run-of-river hydroelectrical projects in Brazil and Chile – all generating annuity income streams for the company. In total, Mr. Kemper has completed over five hundred clean energy financial related transactions with a majority associated with solar power.
Mr. Kemper built the real estate business, along with his advisors, to create the first energy efficient property business for single family residential in the United States. Mr. Kemper manages a series of funds whereby the Company optimizes its assets through energy improvements and, thus, lowering the cost of energy to its tenants.
Prior to Palmetto, Mr. Kemper worked with Mr. Oza at Tradition Financial Service, a leading institutional inter-dealer broker and was based in London, England. He was a senior broker and focused on clean energy markets in Asia and Latin America where he was responsible for origination, transaction structuring and investment strategy. Prior to Tradition, Mr. Kemper worked in Thailand with United Nations Environmental Sustainability Division and focused on environmental policy to drive energy parity for clean energy in Southeast asia. He also worked with the World Bank to originate and structure financial models for clean energy projects, putting policy strategies into practice. Prior to that, Mr. Kemper was a consultant for a large consultancy firm whereby he constructed sustainable development policies for governments and large developers.
Mr. Kemper has built the Company from a $100,000 value to a $100,000,000 value in six years.
Amit Oza CFA, Co-Founder and Partner
Mr. Oza co-founded Palmetto™ with Mr. Kemper in 2009. and is responsible for developing and entering new markets across Palmetto’s solar and property divisions. Mr. Oza works in both the US and Europe allowing Palmetto to grow into markets on both sides of the Atlantic.
Mr. Oza is tasked with establishing relationships with corporate clients that are seeking to benefit from reduced costs and improved efficiencies that can come from switching to clean energy. These include property owners, developers, and managers as well as those involved in construction and engineering in the property sector. Currently, Mr. Oza oversees Palmetto’s solar activities with a top 10 realtor in the Charleston, SC area and one of America’s largest homebuilders, operating in 17 states.
Further, Mr. Oza also works with companies that wish to switch to solar directly such as industrial and commercial businesses where cost reduction and environmental responsibility are important factors. He is responsible for projects between 100kW and 3MW in the UK and North East US where Palmetto has developed $4m of projects.
Mr. Oza works closely with our sales and operations teams to ensure that corporate clients receive the full suite of services from marketing to end customers, Mr. Oza programs and events, customer relationship management and delivery & installation.
In addition, Mr. Oza supports Palmetto’s financial strategy by working with investors and financiers in the clean energy and property sectors. This entails all aspects of the financing process from establishing relationships with new investors to supporting transactions with Palmetto’s internal deal teams. Mr. Oza has managed transactions with some of Europe’s largest financial and energy market institutions such as Barclays Capital which provided over $100m for 100MW of wind power in India, Enel SpA, Gazprom Marketing and Trading and Gunvor Trading which invested over $15,000,0000 into domestic energy efficiency in Haiti and Nepal. In addition,Mr. Oza has also worked in the retail investment space, raising over $2.75m via the London stockbroking community for various Palmetto initiatives.
Prior to co-founding Palmetto, Mr. Oza worked on the Clean Energy and Environmental team at Tradition, a leading inter-dealer broker where he was responsible for advising and arranging finance for clean energy projects in Asia and Africa. Notably, he was responsible for the Energy Risk Deal of the Year, 2009 for arranging the financing of a methane reduction project in South Africa and the Corporate Responsibility Broker of the Year 2009 for the financing of a 49MW portfolio of wind projects in China by HSBC. He began his banking career with The Nedbank Group, one of South Africa’s largest banks, where he established the environmental finance team and jointly managed the bank’s first book of structured credit products with over $250m in assets.
Mr. Oza is a CFA Charterholder and holds the Investment Management Certificate from the UK Society of Investment Professionals. He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering and Business Finance from University College, London.
Michael Conway, President of Structured Finance and Partner
Mr. Conway joined Palmetto™ in 2014. Mr. Conway is responsible for project finance activities related to Palmetto’s solar and property divisions. Additionally, Mr. Conway oversees the Capital Markets Team, which is responsible for new market research, underwriting and project management activities in the US and Europe.
Mr. Conway is tasked with spearheading the underwriting and financial structuring aspects related to acquisitions, dispositions and development for the company. During his tenure with the firm, Mr. Conway has underwritten over 150MW of solar projects in the US and the UK. On the property front, Mr. Conway works with the Property Team to establish underwriting criteria to ensure the financial objectives of the company are met. To date, Mr. Conway has been involved in the underwriting and deployment of $20m related to single family and multi-family acquisitions in the Southeastern US.
In addition, Mr. Conway is responsible for establishing and overseeing annual budgets for the company. He works closely with the Executive, Sales and Property Teams to derive sales and asset performance metrics for all solar and property divisions. Lastly, Mr.Conway works closely with Amit and Chris in developing and executing the financial strategy for Palmetto.
Prior to joining Palmetto, Mr. Conway worked for The Beach Company and OTO Development in underwriting and financing capacities. Both companies are US based real estate development and investment companies. At both companies, Mr.Conway worked closely with the CFOs to help raise and structure over $500m of debt and $100m of equity to support the development of hospitality and multi-family projects. Notably, he was responsible for establishing disposition pricing for the largest multi-family sale (per door) at that point in time in South Carolina. Asset sold for $66.5m and approximately $205k per door.
Mr. Conway graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.