Clean Energy | March 4, 2021

Generate’s Jigar Shah tapped to rev up the Department of Energy’s loan office

Amy Cortese
ImpactAlpha Editor

Amy Cortese

ImpactAlpha, March 4 – The lending program, mostly moribund for the past four years, “is back in business,” declared Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.

Shah pioneered no-money-down solar installations at SunEdison and went on to co-found Generate, an investor, owner and operator in microgrids, HVAC systems, biogas converters, charging depots, wastewater treatment and other categories of sustainable infrastructure.

The department’s loan programs office has $40 billion in capital to speed the low-carbon transition.

“He’s going to help us put together an indomitable portfolio of investments for American taxpayers, that will help us tackle climate change and create jobs,” Granholm said. “We’re ready to invest in advanced vehicles, carbon capture, advanced reactors, and so much more.”

The office, established by the 2009 stimulus bill, supported solar makers – including, famously, Solyndra – and helped Tesla build its first factory, but languished under the Trump administration. Shah will step down as Generate’s president. Scott Jacobs remains CEO; chief investment officer Matan Friedman will re-join the company’s board.

In his own words: “We definitely need 25 million new people to get to work to be able to decarbonize at the scale that we need to decarbonize. That’s a lot of jobs, and those are a lot of good-paying jobs,” Shah said on ImpactAlpha’s Agents of Impact podcast in January.

“You have a lot of tailwind from political leadership saying, ‘It’s the right thing to do, and it’s the right time to do it.’”