Today, Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-06), member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, introduced legislation which will help small businesses in the clean energy sector access financing. The Small Business Clean Energy Financing Act of 2013 will create a loan program within the Small Business Administration (SBA) that would guarantee loans to companies that manufacture clean energy technologies.
"Even though our economy is recovering, small businesses continue to have a difficult time accessing the capital needed to keep operating and expanding. The clean energy sector is no exception," said Congresswoman Matsui. "We must build on the recovery efforts that have been made and assist these small businesses with the support they need to bring our nation to the forefront of clean energy technologies. The clean energy economy now supports more jobs than the fossil fuel industry, and has the ability to continue to create jobs, strengthen our economy and ensure our energy independence. By providing assurances to financial institutions, we can open up capital and further unleash American innovation."
The SBA provides, on average, $13 billion annually for the 7(a) program. Only a small portion of these loans go to clean energy companies. The Small Business Clean Energy Financing Act would not authorize new funds for the clean energy sector, but instead allow the SBA to utilize its' existing budget authority to address the needs of clean energy businesses. Furthermore, it is well-known that the SBA adheres to stringent underwriting standards, and this bill will continue to apply such standards for clean energy financing.
Michael Hart, CEO of Sacramento's Sierra Energy, said, "Sierra Energy is enthusiastic about Congresswoman Matsui's Small Business Clean Energy Financing Act of 2013. There is a valley of death today when it comes to funds available for innovative green energy technologies. SBA financing would allow our company to grow more rapidly to meet the market demand, creating dozens of well-paying operating positions and many times that in construction jobs. In California alone, if we were to convert the waste we throw into landfills into clean energy, we could offset 34,000,000 barrels of imported diesel and create over 250,000 new jobs. Debt financing is necessary for the construction of these systems and Congresswoman Matsui's bill is an essential step in the right direction."
Ken Oosting, Founder and CEO of Inspired Solar Technologies, remarked, "We have looked at SBA loans for our solar company, however the current conditions on the loans just do not work for the solar industry. While the loan quality can be there, outdated regulations that do not consider newer, clean energy industries, oftentimes prevents the loans from being made. Congresswoman Matsui's legislation would open the door to loans for clean energy small businesses that offer significant value to the economy."