Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Clean Energy to Get a B$G Boost

Three new venture capitalists have recently pledged $12.2 million to the PACE solar funding initiative, a venture founded by Cisco DeVries with Berkeley First. PACE stands for Property Assessed Clean Energy and is a program that assists homeowners in making solar power affordable and convenient. Basically the PACE program is a way for local governements to use a land secured bond financing schematic to loan low interest, long term loans to homeowners in a specific geographic area. The loans are then used solely for the purchase and setup of photovaltaic arrays and equipment. The homeowner is then able to eliminate or significantly lower their electric bill, and instead pay on the loan for the solar array. This financing model has allowed numerous areas of the United States to make solar energy use affordable and simple to implement. Draper Fisher Jurvetson, New Cycle Capital, and RWE Ventures are businesses that plans to infuse PACE programs with $12.2million in the coming years in order to finance new PACE supported programs across the United States.

In addition to the PACE program, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has been providing many cities and municipalities insightful ways to fund new clean energy, efficiency, and conservation programs. As one of the main components of the ARRA is to provide new jobs and to stimulate the economy, and the fact that green technology and renewable energy are some of the "hottest" industries right now, it is no wonder that the Federal government finds it prudent to invest this market. The Department of Energy currently has the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant under advisement. The EECBG is an umbrella grant program that provides money to state programs, which then disseminates the funds to other local and regional programs to achieve the goals of their overall State Energy Plan. Earlier in 2009, states submitted State Energy Plans (SEPs) of which most have were approved for funding from the EECBG. Each state program has specific energy conservation and efficiency goals, which can be achieved through state incentive programs, municipal building retrofits, and/or the purchase or creation of specific energy credits.

The clean/green energy industry is an extremely volatile industry that is absolutely exploding right now. Numerous start up companies are providing new and innovative ways of not only providing renewable energy, but also the financial resources to obtain it. This has ushered in a completely different type of business model in which a company not only markets to potential customers or clients, but also develops relationships with governmental entities that can assist both the client and company through a variety of funding options. It is this type of all encompassing cooperation between government, corporate entities, and individuals that will ensure the long term viability of the alternative energy market.

No comments: