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Fact Sheet: Biden-Harris Administration Takes Action to Expand Access to Capital for Small- and Medium-Sized Climate Businesses

The Biden Administration is accomplishing a real transition to clean energy and a sustainable green economy through promoting investments in technology, businesses, and innovation with state and local governments and private businesses, while demanding a framework of economic and environmental justice. This fact sheet listing Biden Administration actions to expand access to capital for small and medium sized climate businesses was provided by the White House:

Through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the U.S. is making the largest public investment in climate action in history. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, the largest-ever investment in climate action, introduced and expanded grants, loans, tax incentives, and other programs to accelerate clean energy deployment, invest in resilience, and seed breakthrough innovative technologies. Combined with unprecedented executive action, these investments are setting the United States on a path to achieve President Biden’s ambitious climate goals — including cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2050. President Biden’s historic economic policies have spurred unprecedented levels of private investment into America’s clean energy economy. Since the start of the Biden-Harris Administration, the private sector has announced $866 billion in new investments in clean energy and manufacturing.

Creating economic opportunity for all American communities, entrepreneurs, and workers is central to President Biden’s economic and climate agenda. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed not only to catalyzing investment for climate and clean energy companies, but also to expanding access to that investment, ensuring all communities, including those historically left behind, benefit from these unprecedented resources.  

Today, National Economic Advisor Lael Brainard, National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi, and Small Business Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman will host a Climate Capital Convening at the White House with investors, climate technology start-ups, small business owners, and entrepreneurs to discuss opportunities to mobilize capital for climate-focused businesses across America.
The Biden-Harris Administration will also announce new actions and resources to expand access to climate capital:
Releasing the new Climate Capital Guidebook:

The Biden-Harris Administration is releasing a new Climate Capital Guidebook to provide a simple, comprehensive map of capital programs across the federal government that are available to climate-related start-ups, small- and medium-sized businesses, and their investors. While larger, institutionally-backed climate companies may have the resources to identify and access federal funding opportunities, smaller enterprises may face greater challenges in navigating these federal programs.

The Guidebook includes financing and funding programs created and expanded by the Biden-Harris Administration, including those made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Inflation Reduction Act, and longstanding annual appropriations. It inventories opportunities across the entire federal government, including the Department of Energy, the Department of Agriculture, the Small Business Administration, and the Export-Import Bank of the United States. Together, these programs comprise hundreds of billions of dollars in grants, loans, loan guarantees, and other funding tools to spur the financing and deployment of new clean energy and climate projects — while simultaneously focusing on delivering cleaner air, good-paying jobs, and affordable clean energy to disadvantaged communities, energy communities, and other communities in need.  The Guidebook also indicates programs that are part of President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which set the goal that 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal climate, clean energy, and other investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution.

Expanding financing to support small businesses’ adoption of clean energy:

Small businesses are a critical part of achieving net zero by 2050 and should have access to capital to deploy new clean energy and climate projects.

The Small Business Administration’s 504 Loan Program provides long-term, fixed rate loans of up to $5.5 million from Small Business Administration-approved lenders to small businesses for certain energy and manufacturing projects to support capital expenditures such as real estate or equipment. Previously, this program was capped at three loans per company, allowing each company to receive a total of $16.5 million in loans backed by the Small Business Administration.  This month, the Small Business Administration is lifting its cap on the number of 504 loans that small businesses may receive for “energy public policy projects,” which include projects that reduce energy consumption such as retrofits and/or renewable energy projects such as adding solar. In lifting this cap, small businesses may now bundle multiple 504 loans to finance projects that leverage clean energy technologies to lower production costs, improve energy efficiency, and contribute to emissions reductions goals.

This change increases the total financing available to small businesses tackling climate change and investing in a clean energy future.

Today’s announcements build on prior Biden-Harris Administration actions to expand access to climate capital, including:

Expanding Financing for Clean Energy and Climate Solutions:

  • Thanks to the President’s Inflation Reduction Act, the Environmental Protection Agency is implementing the $27 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, a first-of-a-kind national financing program to catalyze private investment in clean energy projects. The agency announced $14 billion for a National Clean Investment Fund, $6 billion for the Clean Communities Investment Accelerator, and $7 billion for the Solar for All Program. Together, these investments are creating new clean energy job opportunities and reducing pollution in low-income and disadvantaged communities, as part of President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative.
  • The Inflation Reduction Act contains new and expanded tax credits to support investment in new clean electricity generation projects, clean energy manufacturing plants, electric vehicle charging stations, and other clean energy projects. The law also contains new credit monetization provisions for direct pay and transferability, which are expanding eligibility to tax-exempt entities like cities, states, and nonprofit organizations and helping to lower the cost of financing clean energy investments.
  • Made possible by funding from the American Rescue Plan, the Department of the Treasury allocated nearly $10 billion through the State Small Business Credit Initiative to deliver funding to states, territories, and Tribal governments that spurs lending and support to small businesses. Several states are using funds from the State Small Business Credit Initiative to support climate-focused initiatives, for example: Connecticut is leveraging $89 million to launch a climate equity and venture capital program, Illinois is using $20 million to support its Climate Bank Finance Participation Loan Program, and New Jersey is committing $80 million to its Clean Energy Loans Program.
  • The Department of the Treasury, through the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund), is promoting access to capital in low-income communities through monetary awards and tax credits to certified CDFIs. The program recently began collecting data on climate-centered financing by CDFIs — including projects related to climate resilience, extreme weather response or preparation, emission reduction, sustainability, energy or water efficiency, and clean energy projects.
  • The Department of Defense and the Small Business Administration are jointly rolling out the Small Business Investment Company Critical Technologies Initiative to increase capital investment in technologies critical to U.S. economic and national security. The initiative provides equity, debt, and other capital investments in specified critical technology areas, including renewable energy generation and storage.

Funding Clean Energy and Climate Projects Across the Economy:

  • The Small Business Administration’s flagship 7(a) Loan Program provides small businesses access to financing for a wide variety of projects, including acquiring new real estate, working capital, refinancing, and purchasing new equipment. In August 2023, the Small Business Administration announced its Affiliation Rule and SBLC Rule. This rule included changes to how affiliation is assessed and removed “control” as a factor in determining eligibility of a borrower under current size standards. In effect, this change will enable more small businesses, especially innovative venture-backed companies, to access the credit they need to start up and grow. 
  • The Small Business Administration plans to establish a new Working Capital Pilot Program under its signature 7(a) lending program to provide lines of credit to small businesses, including clean energy and climate technology manufacturers, to support their domestic or export finance needs. The program will be paired with business counseling from the Small Business Administration.
  • The Department of Energy is accepting Round 2 applications on behalf of the Internal Revenue Service for the Qualifying Advanced Energy Project Tax Credit, funded by the Inflation Reduction Act. After $4 billion in tax credits were allocated to taxpayers in Round 1 in Spring 2024, the program will allocate an additional $6 billion in tax credits to projects in three areas: clean energy manufacturing, critical materials, and industrial decarbonization. A portion of the funds have also been set aside for projects in certain designated energy communities.
  • The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act created the Clean Ports Program and the Reduction of Truck Emissions at Port Facilities Program, both of which help advance the Justice40 Initiative. Through the Clean Ports Program, the Environmental Protection Agency is awarding $3 billion to fund zero-emission port equipment and infrastructure as well as climate and air quality planning projects at ports. Through the Reduction of Truck Emissions at Port Facilities Program, the Department of Transportation is investing $400 million in port electrification and efficiency; $148 million in awards were made earlier in 2024, and companies can apply to a second funding opportunity that will go live later this year.
  • The Departments of Energy and Transportation are working together with states to build out the infrastructure for an electric mobility future while furthering the Justice40 Initiative. The National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program is providing a total of $5 billion over five years to states to deploy electric vehicle charging infrastructure along corridors, and the Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Program is providing an additional $2.5 billion over five years to fill gaps in the national network by installing chargers in various communities. The SMART Program is granting states $500 million over five years to conduct demonstration projects focused on advanced smart community technologies and systems that improve transportation efficiency and safety. And the Communities Taking Charge Accelerator Program is providing $54 million in funding for projects that expand community e-mobility access and provide reliable clean energy, accelerating the transition to electric vehicles, including in disadvantaged communities.
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Energy are collaborating with state and local partners to ensure that funding for affordable housing development can also be used to deploy clean energy technologies like heat pumps. Programs like the Green and Resilient Retrofit Program, the annual Innovative Housing Showcase, and the Buildings Upgrade Prize highlight how funds for affordable housing can simultaneously benefit clean energy and climate companies.

Building Federal Resource Hubs and Providing Technical Assistance:

  • The Small Business Administration launched its Investing in America Small Business Hub, a new digital resource to help small businesses identify and access industry-specific tax credit, rebate, contracting, and grant opportunities made possible by President Biden’s Investing in America agenda.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency published a list of Clean Energy Finance Tools and Resources to help state and local governments access financing for clean energy and climate programs. This includes a toolkit for state and local decision-makers on financing opportunities such as green banks, revolving loan funds, municipal bonds, and green bonds.
  • The Department of the Treasury launched the IRA Taxpayer Resource Huba one-stop-shop for information on the Inflation Reduction Act’s clean energy tax benefits. The Hub details how businesses can take advantage of clean energy tax credits to help finance new investments in clean power systems, energy efficiency upgrades, or electric vehicles.
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development launched the Build for the Future Hub to connect users — including state and local governments, Tribal entities, private entities, and non-profits — to funding opportunities, technical assistance, and other information related to clean energy, climate resilience, energy efficiency, green workforce development, and more.
  • The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership provides a government-to-business and business-to-business portal for supplier scouting. Public and private organizations can access this portal for business or technology connections, including in clean energy and climate-related industries. Local Manufacturing Extension Partnership Centers facilitate government, original equipment manufacturer, and small and medium-sized manufacturer matchmaking events for clean energy companies.
  • The Department of Labor offers workforce development opportunities for clean energy and climate technology companies. The Office of Apprenticeship connects employers with workforce and education partners and provides technical assistance to launch and expand Registered Apprenticeship programs. The Battery Workforce Initiative — an industry-driven, government-facilitated partnership coordinated by the Department of Energy — is accelerating the development and use of high-quality, standardized training materials in key occupations for companies and local training providers in the battery manufacturing industry.

Seeding Commercial Innovation:

  • The U.S. Economic Development Administration designated 31 communities across the United States as Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs (Tech Hubs) to drive regional innovation, private investment, and job creation to strengthen each region’s capacity to manufacture, commercialize, and deploy technology that advances national security. The hubs in Florida, Idaho/Wyoming, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada, New York, and South Carolina/Georgia cite a growing need for clean energy technologies to build global economic competitiveness.
  • The U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Build to Scale Program makes awards to strengthen regional innovation ecosystems that equitably support diverse technology innovators, entrepreneurs, and start-ups, including in clean energy and other climate-related industries.