It’s a well-known dilemma facing developers of sustainability projects: they need investment capital to get their project off the ground, as well as to develop the industry to the point where more money flows in. But the longer time horizon that most distributed sustainability projects need, as well as their smaller size, tend to be unattractive to most traditional financing sources like banks and venture capital funds.
Financing of sustainability projects today is a huge challenge “because the customers have no money,” says venture capital veteran Tom Cain. “When you think of sustainability, you go out to those marketplaces, and they have no available funds to acquire whatever the innovation is. That’s the biggest problem.”