Companies need more help accessing cleantech funding
By Corey Bonkowski, Director of Finance - July 05, 2022
Companies need more help to access funding and realize their energy goals.
Clean technology investment is growing despite the pandemic, record inflation, and war in Ukraine.
SMEs in particular continue to face a lack of resources when trying to realize their energy plans.
Innovative funding options are helping unlock stalled projects and boost investment in the race to reach net-zero.
With a recession on the horizon, many companies are looking at scaling back spending. But when it comes to clean technology, spending now will help firms weather the storm by reducing their energy costs.
Clean technology solutions are not optional, they’re essential line-items for any business. Many of the solutions we need to reach net-zero are already on the market, the issue is securing access to enough funding. Achieving net-zero emissions requires companies to turbocharge their cleantech investments.
Rising inflation, interest rates, and energy prices are all putting pressure on bottom lines. Companies need to reimagine clean technology solutions as savings rather than expenses, but to make that leap, access to flexible, low-risk funding is key.
Cleantech investment is growing, despite instability
Trying times should be an incentive rather than an impediment to tackling energy efficiency and emissions. Cleantech investments grew by only around 2 percent per year after the 2015 Paris Agreement, but jumped by 12 percent in 2020, aided by a rise in sustainable finance.
And despite record inflation and the war in Ukraine, the International Energy Agency (IEA) projects global energy investment to grow by 8 percent in 2022 to $2.4 trillion—driven mostly by clean energy.
Even so, “we need a much faster increase [in investment] to ease the pressure on consumers from high fossil fuel prices, make our energy systems more secure, and put the world on track to reach our climate goals,” says IEA executive director, Fatih Birol.
Much of this investment is coming from governments and large corporations, whereas SMEs are lagging behind—“SMEs especially don’t have the resources [to decarbonize]”, notes Dennis Darby, President and CEO of the Canadian Manufacturing and Exporters (CME) association.
CME members cite this lack of resources as the biggest obstacle to their net-zero commitments. Canadian manufacturers are spending $1 billion on emissions reduction annually, far short of the $6 billion needed to reach net-zero. More needs to be done to close this funding gap.
Companies need access to innovative funding
Improving access to funding is vital to accelerating the cleantech revolution and unlocking stalled projects. This is where innovative cleantech financing options come into play, as “there is an opportunity for lenders and cleantech companies to explore how to unlock more [debt financing] options.”
As the grid evolves to incorporate more distributed, renewable resources, so too must the way energy projects are funded evolve. A key component is digitalization—the creation of a smart energy system that is networked, flexible, and responsive.
The OECD has touched on this trend, noting that “digitalization of both the energy and finance sector can create new opportunities for innovative funding options.”
SMEs in particular face a lack of available capital.
New funding options help companies without access to sufficient capital, especially given the higher upfront costs associated with clean energy projects.
Market instability and the energy space’s complexity make too many firms risk averse. Many projects also never get off the ground due to ROI horizons, as firms are unwilling to allocate resources with longer payback timelines.
Right now, companies that wait for ideal funding circumstances are losing out on savings, savings that could be paying for their chosen solution in the meantime.
SMEs in particular face a lack of available capital, unable to readily access government funding that is snapped up by larger corporations, or that only targets specific industries and technologies. and often don’t have the time or resources to navigate the crowded field of solution providers.
What’s needed is solution and industry-agnostic funding that minimizes customer risk and eliminates upfront costs; this is where EnPowered comes in.
EnPowered helps companies close the funding gap
EnPowered Payments—our on-bill payments platform—helps solutions providers unlock stalled projects and sell more. Payments allows customers to take possession of their chosen solution right away, with no upfront costs and pay off their purchase through their electricity bill using part of their energy savings. Once the solution is fully paid for, customers enjoy 100 percent of their savings and an even lower bill.
Contact us today to see how Payments helps customers close the funding gap and solution providers increase sales.