What is a Green Bank?



Green Banks are public finance authorities that use limited public dollars to leverage greater private investment in clean energy. Their goal is to accelerate clean energy market growth while making energy cheaper and cleaner for consumers, driving job creation, and preserving taxpayer dollars. Green Banks deploy public capital efficiently through financing to maximize private investment, and lower the costs of clean energy to spark consumer demand. Rather than rely strictly on subsidies that cannot bring markets to scale, Green Banks use limited public funds to offer financing that attracts private investment. This way each public dollar goes further and can be recycled.

Basic Green Bank Model

Beyond financing, Green Banks also undertake a variety of non-finance market development activities to facilitate turnkey, easy-to-use clean energy finance and adoption solutions. Green Banks can support community demand aggregation programs like Solarize to increase awareness and demand, train contractors on how to use and sell financing products, work with channel partners and market participants to fill market gaps, and work with other government agencies and programs to coordinate related efforts to maximize public efficiency and create a single point of contact for consumers. These activities, in combination with financing, can create a robust clean energy market place with low barriers to adoption for consumers.

The Coalition for Green Capital describes Green Bank models, activities, and benefits in detail in various deliverables produced for government clients, which are available on the Resources page.

 

Several organizations, including the United States Department of Energy (DOE) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), have recently published papers on the subject of Green Banks, available below.

CGC GB white paper CGC: Green Bank White Paper
OECD GIB paper OECD: Green Investment Banks – Scaling up Private Investment in Low-carbon, Climate-Resilient Infrastructure
Brookings GB paper  

Brookings Institute: State Clean Energy Finance Banks – New Investment Facilities for Clean Energy Deployment

 

DOE EIP paper U.S. DOE: Energy Investment Partnerships – How State and Local Governments Are Engaging Private Capital to Drive Clean Energy Investments