A Survey of Leading Financial Institutions

In April 2018, we surveyed a group of prominent investors in the U.S. renewable energy sector to better understand the climate for investment amid ongoing national and global developments.

The resulting report, released June 19, 2018, features data and insights from senior-level respondents across the nation’s leading banking institutions, asset managers, private equity firms and other financial firms.


Respondents reported that, with sustained demand, U.S. renewable energy will continue to be an attractive asset class with strong potential for investment growth.

  • Over the next three years, investor confidence in the U.S. renewable energy sector is expected to remain high, with an average confidence level of 84/100.
  • Two-thirds of respondents plan to increase their investments in U.S. renewables by more than 5% in 2018 compared with 2017, and half plan to increase their investments by more than 10%. None reported plans to decrease renewable investment by 5% or more.
  • Respondents also expect renewable energy to increase in attractiveness compared with other asset classes in their investment portfolios over this period.
  • A large majority (89%) of respondents who chose to project their companies’ investments in U.S. renewable energy between 2018-2030, said they would, at a minimum, double their planned investments in U.S. renewables under an ideal policy and market scenario compared with a business-as-usual base case.
  • When considering ideal policy and market scenarios, 70% of respondents indicated that cumulative private investment in U.S. renewable energy could reach $500 billion between 2018-2030, while 26% projected it could reach $1 trillion. In addition, investors projected similar investment levels in energy storage and related grid enhancements over that same period.

Market and policy changes over the coming decade will drive new demand for renewable energy, but investors are cautious about potential mixed policy signals to slow demand.

  • More than half (58%) of respondents identified the lack of a federal policy driver for renewable energy after the sunsets of the PTC and ITC as a hurdle for continued growth at current levels.
  • Expanded state renewable portfolio standards were identified as key growth policies, with 45% of respondents indicating they are “very important” and 50% indicating they are “important.”
  • A majority (88%) of the respondents identified energy storage to be a leading magnet for investment within the next three years. This investment should, in turn, stimulate renewable energy development, with three-quarters of respondents reporting energy storage scaleup to be an important market driver for renewables growth to 2030.
  • More than half (59%) of tax equity providers represented in this survey do not plan to reduce their planned tax equity investments over the next three years in response to the new Base Erosion and Anti-Abuse Tax (BEAT), which was enacted with the 2017 tax reform package. Thirty percent of respondents reported that the effects of the law are still unknown.