Flipping the Switch: Catalytic Capital for Renewable Energy

Jul 13, 2020 11:15 AM ET

Flipping the Switch: Catalytic Capital for Renewable Energy

by Leah Thibault of Coastal Enterprises, Inc (CEI) 

CEI’s mission is to grow good jobs, expand environmentally sustainable enterprises, and increase more broadly shared prosperity in Maine and other rural regions. CDFIs, including CEI, develop a deep connection to the communities where they do business, which translates into a willingness and commitment to one-on-one technical assistance and specialized programs that are often too time-consuming or costly for mainstream financial institutions to consider. Often, CDFIs demonstrate proof of concept and demand for a new financial product, which serves as a catalyst for investment from more traditional lenders. In the words of John Egan, CEI’s Chief Investment Officer, “We take the sharp edges off the new stuff and bring it more mainstream.”

To expand municipal solar in Maine, this has meant helping interested community banks learn the ropes through participation in a CEI municipal solar loan. CEI takes the lead in organizing, negotiating and documenting a solar financing transaction, while the community bank provides funding dollars and, in the process, learns how to replicate the model on their own. The involvement of community banks, along with the changes in legislation, has allowed the scale of projects to expand across rural Maine, often bundling multiple communities as solar energy off takers (or purchasers) – a move that increases adoption of solar technology across the state and allows everyone to benefit from economies of scale. 

Read Leah's full article here -  https://greenmoney.com/flipping-the-switch-catalytic-capital-for-renewable-energy