New analyses from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), in coordination with the Northeast Solar Energy Market Coalition (NESEMC), shows how Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont could use modest levels of public funds to greatly increase private-sector investment in clean energy, by offering a more comprehensive approach to financing local clean energy projects.

The analysis shows how these states could expand existing clean energy financing programs to make additional low-interest loans and other financial products available to homeowners, businesses, farmers, schools, and municipalities who want to make energy efficiency improvements, install solar panels and wind turbines, or invest in other types of clean energy projects.

The basic approach of clean energy financing programs is to leverage a pool of public-sector funds to garner a larger pool of private-sector investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency. They do this by bringing together a suite of financial products that support the development of clean energy projects. Just as important, these programs raise awareness of clean energy technologies and their benefits and remove barriers to private investments in these resources.

In the US, other Northeast states like Connecticut, New York, and Rhode Island are demonstrating the success of these comprehensive clean energy financing programs. For example, Connecticut and New York have achieved an average leverage ratio across their programs of more than $5 of private funds to every $1 of public funds over recent years. Connecticut has generated nearly $1 billion in clean energy investments since 2012, with 90 percent of that coming from the private sector.

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