Renewable Energy Manifesto Imagines Profound Change, Sees Big Opportunities

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solarelectricIt seems as if there are two basic sides to the sustainable renewable energy revolution. One side imagines all of the constraints or costs or perceived weaknesses to solar and wind and wave/tidal and hydro energy, and the other side says bring it on already (while also still wondering where in the world the funding would come from).

But a new energy economy doesn’t have to be two-sided, as the business opportunities available in renewable energy, coupled with the ever-increasing speed of innovation and the diverse array of possible energy sources and solutions could bring about a win/win situation. After all, renewable energy doesn’t really mean ‘free’ energy (unless you own the equipment outright), and we’re all used to paying for the energy we use, so the elephant in the room that we’re not really willing to acknowledge is the lack of accessible investment capital for clean energy.

Over at Medium, Billy Parish, co-founder of Solar Mosaic, has published a thought-provoking renewable energy manifesto:

The transition to 100% clean energy is inevitable. The only questions are how fast we can do it and who will benefit from the investments we need to make.

The major hurdle? Big, centralized banking.

There are vanishingly few sources of capital to finance clean energy projects. Of the over 8,000 banks in the U.S., there are fewer than 20 that currently have a dedicated department for clean energy financing. And because there are so few banks investing, they are able to charge very high rates for their capital, making many good clean energy projects uneconomical. Banks will cut a developer a sweet deal on a loan for a $500M natural gas power plant, but try to get a $100,000 loan for a rooftop solar array and most likely you’ll be out of luck.

If we want a new energy system, we need a new financial system along with it. We need something that looks more like an ecosystem, with many diverse pots of money funding many diverse energy infrastructure components.

Do you know who has more money than banks? People do. And there are new opportunities emerging for us to put it to work.” – Billy Parish

One big takeaway from this manifesto is that a big part of the clean energy revolution will come from taking the power back. Literally. Through crowdfunding, community power projects, individual residential solar projects, and community ‘solar gardens’, the consumers of the power (you and me) have the opportunity to invest in our new energy economy. And that’s empowering.

Read the full piece at Medium: 100%: A New Energy Manifesto. How switching out our energy system may be the biggest business opportunity on the planet, and then start looking for the opportunities in clean energy investments.

[Image: Green Prophet1]

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