Could green bank in Nevada encourage clean-​​energy sector?

Las Vegas Sun
By Daniel Rothberg
June 17, 2016

Despite costs declin­ing over the past decade, installing a clean-​​energy sys­tem or retro­fitting for energy effi­ciency remains pro­hib­i­tively expen­sive for many con­sumers and small busi­nesses across the state. And that fact has led some leg­is­la­tors to con­sider a pio­neer­ing fix.

An energy com­mit­tee this morn­ing will hear the results of a study exam­in­ing the via­bil­ity of a Nevada green bank, a quasi-​​public tool for issu­ing loans and bonds to help fund renewable-​​energy projects har­ness­ing every­thing from wind and solar to geot­her­mal poten­tial. The model comes from green banks adopted in six states, includ­ing Con­necti­cut, New York, Hawaii, Cal­i­for­nia, New Jer­sey and Rhode Island. While setups vary, these banks share one goal: to be a self-​​sustaining resource spurring invest­ment in renew­ables by home­own­ers and com­pa­nies strug­gling to pay for it.

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Nancy Pfund, whose San Francisco-​​based DBL Part­ners invests in clean energy, said most of the com­pa­nies her firm invests in, like SolarCity, are too large for green-​​bank fund­ing, though at least one com­pany she works with has ben­e­fited. But Pfund stressed that a green bank has to be part of a larger strat­egy around clean-​​energy development.

No amount of money from a green bank is going to make the kind of dif­fer­ence (needed) with­out atten­tion to smart poli­cies that encour­age clean-​​energy inno­va­tion,” Pfund said, cit­ing Nevada’s changes to rooftop-​​solar rates. “You can’t send a sig­nal out of one side of your mouth and then one sig­nal out of another side.”

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