Demonstrating the continued growth occurring in the energy market, the fifth largest commercial bank in America, U.S. Bancorp (USB), recently announced its 2012 plans to invest $440 million in U.S. renewable energy projects.
Now is an excellent time to make such investment, says Van’t Hof, director of renewable energy investments at USB. With U.S. utility electric rates rising and the costs of solar panel installations and wind turbines dropping, eco-friendly investments in wind and solar projects are seen as low risk and reliable, he says.
In addition to its 2012 plans, the bank has already invested as much as $680 million in renewable energy projects since 2008, with most of that happening in 2011, including a $50 million project involving a group of solar power systems in California and Massachusetts. The bank also made its largest financing commitment last May to SunRun, supporting the purchase of $200 million of residential solar systems, according to Sustainable Business. While there’s no longer a government tax credit providing cash for upcoming projects, USB will nonetheless benefit from the 30 percent tax equity program.
“Despite all the skepticism around Solyndra, Evergreen and a lot of legislative uncertainty, our financial institution is taking a very strong position [in renewable energy] and feel this is an excellent asset class,” said Van’t Hof.
At Soluxe Solar, we love hearing about developments like this one, where major financial players demonstrate an awareness of the value of renewable and sustainable energy projects. We’ll be looking forward to seeing how this investment looks over the coming year—as well as who else follows USB’s example!