Peer-to-peer financing mechanisms to accelerate renewable energy deployment
Journal of Sustainable Finance and Investment
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Despite the clear need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lack of access to capital and appropriate financing mechanisms has limited the deployment of renewable energy technologies (RETs). Feed-in tariff (FIT) programmes have been used successfully in many countries to make RETs more economically feasible. Unfortunately, the large capital costs of RETs can result both in the slow uptake of FIT programmes and incomplete capture of deployment potential. Subsidies are concentrated in financial institutions rather than the greater population as traditional bank loans are required to fund RET projects. This article critically analyses and considers the political, financial and logistical risks of an innovative peer-to-peer (P2P) financing mechanism. This mechanism has the goal of increasing RET deployment capacity under an FIT programme in an effort to equitably distribute both the environmental and economic advantages throughout the entire population. Using the Ontario FIT programme as a case study, this article illustrates how the guaranteed income stream from a solar photovoltaic system can be modelled as an investment and how P2P lending mechanisms can then be used to provide capital for the initial costs. The requirements for and limitations of these types of funding mechanisms for RETs are quantified and discussed and future work to deploy this methodology is described.