US Bancorp, the fifth-largest commercial bank in the US says it will invest 30% more in renewable energy projects this year, about $440 million.
The bank has financed $680 million in solar and wind projects since 2008, and roughly half of that was in 2011.
As the renewable energy projects become more profitable,
investors are considering them as candidates for asset-backed securities, says Darren Van’t Hof, Bankcorp’s Director of Renewable Energy Investments.
"Our financial institution is taking a very strong position in renewable energy and feels this is an excellent asset class," he says.
Last May, the bank made its largest financing commitment to SunRun to support the purchase of $200 million in residential solar systems. SunRun owns the system and homeowners pay a monthly electricity fee for the solar energy.
"With strong management and a solid business model, SunRun exemplifies the partners we look for to help facilitate the growth of the renewable energy industry," said Van’t Hof.
In 2010, Residential solar provider Sungevity formed a partnership with US Bancorp to create a $24 million tax equity fund to finance 10-year solar leases for Sungevity customers in California.