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5 ways to fund more Solar power

Updated: Nov 10, 2020

In 2016, solar became the fastest growing source of energy in the US, and the biggest employer of all energy industries, with around 370,000 employees, compared to 187,000 in all fossil fuels combined, according to the US Department of Labor. The price of solar fell 165 percent from 1975 to 2015, as the megawatts installed globally surged from two to 65,000 in the same period, according to a report by Bloomberg and the Earth Policy Institute.

Given the harsh realities of the climate crisis, the world’s impending approach to peak coal and peak oil, and the rapid adoption of solar worldwide, Kennedy says the future looks very bright indeed for solar power, and he expects more solar innovations to keep coming. 

One of the areas of improvement in order for solar power to continue to grow is by helping lower the cost of solar power. Here are a few ways to help continue to fund the industry and drive down the overall costs:

1. De-risk investment

Mechanisms to de-risk investment include:

  • Providing catalytic first loss capital

  • Securing uptake commitments from humanitarian organizations to guarantee the purchase of a minimum viable quantity of power

  • Offering loan guarantees that enable solar companies to access credit at reasonable rates

  • Designing insurance against early termination in the event that a displacement community is shut down earlier than anticipated

2. Cross-sector collaboration

As they navigate what for them is the new world of private finance, international organizations and NGOs must pool their expertise and partner with financial institutions to identify and structure investable opportunities on the ground—and ensure investors are aware of those opportunities.

3. Enabling regulation

Governments must design regulatory and refugee policies that can attract investors to solar energy solutions.

4. Public-private collaboration

Solar companies should collaborate with international organizations to ensure their services meet humanitarian needs.

5. Longer term systemic investments

In the longer term, incentives must also be created to enable private capital to make systemic investments in everything from health and education to employability and microfinance—investments that can enhance resilience, promote economic development, thereby helping to prevent the conditions that prompt migration in the first place. In the meantime, however, there is an urgent need to direct more private capital towards developments that can improve lives and support livelihoods for displaced and underserved communities.

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