Conversation on Innovation: How Private Markets Can Bring Clean Energy Solutions to Your Home

Americans’ interest in energy efficiency can be seen in the numbers: The vast majority of us believe in it. In one recent national poll: 87 percent said renewable energy is important to the country’s future. In another, 57 percent said the best way to solve our nation’s energy issues was conservation.

However, one of the hardest places to implement a clean energy lifestyle just may be the place where most of us spend most of our time: Our homes. And one of the biggest reasons may also be among the hardest to solve: Cost.

While we know that clean energy solutions will save us money in utility bills over the long run, the initial short-term investments stop many from making the necessary infrastructure changes.

But a new partnership is actively attacking this public policy problem, and the place they’re doing it just may surprise you: The private markets.

The partnership is called WHEEL: Warehouse for Energy Efficiency Loans. It’s a combination of non-profits, state leaders and agencies, national associations, a specialist in innovative renewable energy financing and even one of the world’s largest banks.

The group started by leveraging public funds with private capital to provide loans that help home owners invest in energy efficiency changes. And now, new headlines that should allow the program to truly scale and help a wider number of home owners reach their energy efficiency dreams: The recent announcement of the creation of the first-ever secondary market for these loans.

How does it work? Colin Bishopp, Vice President at Renew Financial and Bruce Schlein, Director of Alternative Energy Finance at Citi, explain.

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