States Turning to Green Banks to Finance Renewables

Friday, August 14, 2015

States are looking to the private sector to nurture renewable energy markets. Government incentives for renewable energy that drove growth from 7 percent of the total generated energy in the U.S. in 2007 to 13 percent in 2014 are beginning to dry up. The largest federal renewable energy tax credit of 30 percent for solar systems will expire at the end of 2016. Clean energy financing programs offer “a promising avenue for scaling up investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency that can reap significant economic and consumer benefits,” according to a new report by the Union of Concerned Scientists. The report says programs such as "green banks" are strengthening investments in clean energy. State green banks help homes, businesses, and institutions develop clean energy by leveraging low-cost, private-sector capital. In addition, with state support lowering risk, financing costs are lower. For example, Connecticut's Green Bank has completed 8,800 projects and installed solar panels on more than 10,000 homes over the past three years. New York's Green Bank invested $800 million in clean energy investments starting in October 2014, and expects to leverage private-sector capital at a ratio of 8:1. The upward trend anticipates renewable energy taking 27 percent of the U.S. energy market share by 2030, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.

Mike Hower 8/14/2015

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