Interview on Financing Small-Scale Renewables at RELACCX

I presented a few months ago at the Renewable Energy in Latin America and the Caribbean Conference and Exhibition (RELACCX) in Puerto Rico, with a panel discussion in the session “Emerging Business Models for Small Scale Renewables” (which had some very interesting panelists!). In the lobby before even the conference began, I was having an informal discussion with José Biaou and Brendan Noakes of Millennium Energy Finance on the difficulties that small-scale renewable energy projects face in getting financing. We were approached by Jeff Beller of Renew the Earth, who overheard our animated discussion, to continue in front of a microphone for an interview/podcast on his website. This has just been posted on YouTube, and I thought I would share it below:


(It is also available directly on Jeff Beller’s Renew the Earth website)

The interview touches on the following points:

  • Small-scale renewable energy projects face substantial barriers in getting financing in emerging markets and even in many established markets
  • It is relatively “easy” to raise $100 million internationally for a project, but extremely difficult to do the same for $1 million
  • Crowdfunding could be a solution for the funding gap, and we discussed one of the initiatives I’m working on, crowdfundingrenewables.com, as well José and Brendan’s initiative
  • Need for political “capital” to address market failures that result from the externalities of using fossil fuels (e.g. climate change), and that this would level the playing field for renewable energy across energy markets
  • My work in Barbados with the Inter-American Development Bank on debt financing small-scale green projects

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3 comments

  1. Roy Emmerich says:

    Nice interview Antonio, and interesting to see what you and the folk of Millennium Energy Finance are setting up.

    I’d like to draw your attention to the publications page of the Alliance of Rural Electrification.

    Of particular relevance is the soon to be released report entitled “Risk Mitigation in Mini-grids.” The executive summary is already available and contains the following interesting points:

    While in the past the majority of mini-grid projects
    were financed through grants, there is a trend in the
    sector to increase the role of commercial financing.

    There is a need for an improved risk management and easy-to-handle standardized procedures for risk assessment and pricing

    Need for adequate financing instruments and smaller ticket sizes

    there is an urgent need for more communication and alignment between financial institutions

    • Thanks for this link! The executive summary really hits the nail on the head with the first key result: “Need for more self-sustainable models with business rationale”. I look forward to the full report!

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