Scaling clean energy in low-income communities through solar and deep efficiency retrofits presents financing challenges, but that is only part of the problem. Drawing on research conducted by the Carsey School’s Center for Impact Finance, this white paper outlines a road map depicting the ecosystem needed to deliver clean energy projects to underserved communities.

In a “tour” through this ecosystem, author Eric Hangen reviews examples of the work different organizations are doing in each of its niches, as well as which niches seem to be richly popu­lated and which niches need more support and invest­ment. Main conclusions from the tour are that:

  • More capacity-building funding and support is needed at the grassroots level of the ecosystem.
  • There are many community lenders who are well-positioned to finance clean energy projects, whose capacities could be unlocked by provid­ing lending operating platforms.
  • There are many opportunities to engage new investors to provide capital for clean energy proj­ect finance in low-income communities, but they cannot be easily realized without scaling up the pipeline of investable projects.

The key to building a thriving ecosystem is to connect the various sectors, roles, or niches across their boundaries. Funders and policymakers need to think more holistically about building the ecosystem required to identify, develop, and finance impactful and investable projects.


Carsey School of Public Policy

Publication Date

Winter 2-16-2022


White Paper


Durham, N.H. : Carsey School of Public Policy, University of New Hampshire

Document Type



Copyright 2022. Carsey School of Public Policy. These materials may be used for the purposes of research, teaching, and private study. For all other uses, contact the copyright holder.





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