U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu has said that the Department of Energy (DOE) will provide up to US$750 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help accelerate development of renewable energy projects, such as solar installations. Funding will go towards the cost of loan guarantees that could support as much as US$8 billion in lending to eligible projects. The DOE will also invite private sector participation to help with the financing of these projects.
The DOE has also announced the Financial Institution Partnership Program (FIPP). This is a set of standards designed to expedite the DOE’s loan guarantee underwriting process and leverage private sector expertise and capital for the efficient and prudent funding of eligible projects.
“A renewable energy economy is a true opportunity to create new jobs, reinvigorate America’s competitiveness and support the president’s goal of doubling renewable energy in the United States,” said Secretary Chu. “American innovation can be the catalyst that jumps starts a new clean energy Industrial Revolution.”
The Recovery Act created a new Section 1705 under Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Title XVII) for the rapid deployment of renewable energy projects and related manufacturing facilities, electric power transmission projects and leading edge biofuels projects that commence construction before September 30, 2011.
Past solicitations for renewable energy generation projects have focused on loan guarantee applications using new or innovative technologies not in general use in the marketplace, while this one focuses on conventional sources such as solar. This ties in with the recent Schott Solar Barometer survey, which found that almost half of all Americans are thinking about solar power as an option for their homes or businesses and cite solar as their top choice among energy sources.
The goal of FIPP is to leverage the human and financial capital of private sector financial institutions by accelerating the loan application process while balancing risk between DOE and private sector partners participating in the program.
This solicitation marks the eighth round of solicitations issued by the Department’s Loan Guarantee Program since its inception.