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All posts in Articles by Jigar

City Utilities is close to signing a contract to purchase electricity from a forthcoming 5 MW solar farm in eastern Greene County, Missouri, said to be the biggest in the state. …read more

Read more here: PV Magazine

Since 2008, the solar industry in the USA has grown from less than $3B in 2008 to more than $15B projected by the end of 2013.  During that same period, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)

  • Secured an 8-year extension of the solar tax credit in 2008   In the 2009 stimulus bill,
  • Secured the 1603 grant program in 2009 which brought in an entirely new group of investors into solar
  • And recently, the SEIA has come out with a new approach to solving the Chinese tariff case

Yet with all this financial growth of the solar industry, plus expanded responsibilities of the SEIA, my guess is that SEIA’s budget that is $9.2 million today has not kept pace with the growth of the industry over the past five years.  It appears that when the solar industry’s profit margin started to shrink, the first priority of many members was to zero out growing their investment in SEIA.

Read the full article:


In light of his upcoming book ‘Creating Climate Wealth’, Solarplaza interviews Solar guru Jigar Shah. The visionary who founded SunEdison, was the CEO of the Carbon War Room and is a member of many climate change initiatives and enterprises.

Check out the interview here: Solar Plaza

Climate change solutions offer trillions in growth opportunities, clean-tech guru Jigar Shah argues

Julia Pyper, E&E reporter

Published: Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Jigar Shah fundamentally believes that the United States can innovate its way out of the worst effects of climate change and unlock trillions of dollars in the process by adopting new financial models in the clean technology sector.

At this time of fiscal austerity, the world needs a new growth plan now more than ever, according to Shah, the outspoken founder and former CEO of solar SunEdison, who has been widely dubbed an energy visionary. The deployment of clean technologies “represents the largest wealth-creation opportunity of our lifetime,” he said in an interview.


Jigar Shah. Photo courtesy of ICOSA Media.

In his new book “Creating Climate Wealth,” launched yesterday, Shah argues that the key to unlocking $10 trillion to fund climate change solutions is in attracting “smart investments” from mainstream financial institutions.

“This book is about how a small group of people can lead a revolution from the ‘feel-good,’ socially responsible investment that is attracting $9 billion in 2013 to impact investments that build solid businesses in perpetuity — ones that become the lion’s share of investor portfolios,” Shah writes. “Why? Simple: the financial returns are compelling, and the social and environmental impact are awe-inspiring.”

“Creating Climate Wealth” was written through Shah’s trials and tribulations at SunEdison, where he pioneered the solar-as-service business model. This approach removed all upfront costs for customers who agreed to buy electricity at a set price for 10 years or more under a power purchase agreement (PPA).

Other clean-tech sectors, ranging from alternative transportation fuels to waste management, water purification and energy efficiency, are also begging for financial solutions to realize their full potential, Shah argues.

“The technologies are all ready, they’re finically capable,” Shah says. “The problem is that they don’t know what the business model innovation is to get them into the marketplace.”

Cashing in on solar

The model Shah developed helped trigger a solar boom around the globe at a time when governments were also offering strong federal incentives for renewables and electricity prices were on the rise. Today, the worldwide solar industry is worth roughly $100 billion and is providing attractive financial returns.

SunEdison launched in 2003 with $113,000 behind it — $20,000 of Shah’s personal savings and a $93,000 line of credit on his home. In 2012, revenue at SunEdison solar, now a subsidiary of Missouri-based MEMC Electronic Materials, was reportedly almost $2 billion.

A defining feature of SunEdison’s success is that the company chased after “smart money” over “impact money,” or socially conscious investments, Shah explains. So-called impact money from high-net-worth individuals doesn’t resonate with the big banks; they want to know that their peers are getting in the game, too. That’s why SunEdison went after and secured pivotal funding from the banking giant Goldman Sachs in 2005.

In Shah’s view, attracting mainstream capital to existing clean technologies — which he describes as everything from natural gas cars and water efficiency to increased ethanol use and decreased electricity waste — is more important now than ever.

“I think we are basically at the cusp of choosing the right direction or the wrong direction,” he says.

“There was a tremendous amount of money provided by the stimulus bill to allow a lot of clean technologies to get out into the world,” Shah explains. “Now these entrepreneurs are going to choose a path. They’re either going to choose smart money from Goldman Sachs or others, or they’re going to choose impact money, which won’t … get the rest of mainstream capital to follow.”

Appealing to institutional investors

Today, deployment, more so than technological development, is needed for clean technologies to scale up and address the threat of climate change, he said. The solar industry, for instance, is still dominated by crystalline solar panels that have existed for more than 40 years and has seen only incremental technology improvements since 2003.

Innovation in much of the clean-tech sector now needs to come in the form of business models that attract third-party ownership and reduce or eliminate upfront costs for users, Shah says.

Shah gives the example of car-sharing companies like Zipcar and SideCar that remove the burden of individual car ownership and maximize the use of a single vehicle, which reduces traffic congestion in urban areas.

In another example, Shah explains how one company built hydroponic greenhouses near grocery stores that signed a PPA to buy the locally grown produce for up to 10 years using a fixed formula. While the produce costs more than produce grown at an industrial farm, reduced transportation expenses mean the grocer ends up paying less overall. Also, the shorter the distance food has to travel, the less fuel is required to move it and the less emissions are produced.

Justin Guay, associate director of the Sierra Club’s International Climate Program, said he agrees with Shah’s fundamental thesis that expanding clean technologies requires unlocking institutional investment in new ways. However, he said, he would add that some market segments are less ready to attract big finance than others.

“If you try to force upon an early emerging market the need to meet the expectations of institutional investors, you can actually have a negative impact,” Guay said. “That being said, I think a lot of sectors people have labeled as social investments or impact investments are actually ready to graduate up to institutional investors and that will unlock those sectors for absolutely unprecedented growth.”

The business case is clear for the deployment of solar lanterns in Africa, for instance, where money is already being spent on expensive and polluting kerosene and candles, he said. In contrast, solar-based mini grids still have very high upfront costs and haven’t yet been proved bankable.

Daniel Simmons, director of regulatory affairs at the conservative think tank Institute for Energy Research, questions whether any of the clean technologies Shah espouses are ready for mainstream deployment. If the financial industry stands to make anywhere near the amount of money from clean tech that Shah talks about in his book, it would have every incentive in the world to be investing already, he said.

Subsidies should go

“I’m very skeptical that all that needs to happen is some slight tweaking of business models … or that the only problem is finance,” Simmons said.

“If there was something to come along and replace our use of oil, the amount of money to be made is trillions and trillions of dollars,” he said. “The fact that that hasn’t happened with that kind of money on the line says to me the technologies [Shah] believes could help replace oil are not ready for prime time.”

Part of the problem is that renewable technologies like solar and wind are not completely market-driven; instead, they’re being promoted by government mandates and subsidies, he said. The financial sector is wary of making billion-dollar investments that are dependent on politics and policies that might change, Simmons said.

But Shah is among the first to say that subsidies have to go. New technologies sometimes need a kick-start, but endless government support is not palatable and is “simply not fair,” he writes. If clean technologies do not scale quickly, they will meet their demise, he says.

The government, for Shah, has a more important role to play in optimizing climate wealth opportunities as a point of coordination, a product tester and, above all, an agenda-setter.

“First and foremost, we need a plan. ‘All of the above’ is not a plan. It is a recipe for confusion,” he writes of President Obama’s energy strategy.

No one can accuse Shah of writing boldly but speaking timidly. He readily rips the president of the United States for not enacting a clean-tech revolution that is able to slash gasoline prices, make federal buildings hum with energy efficiency and unleash $1 trillion into low-emission power projects. And it could be done with the snap of a finger, as he describes it, if only Obama wanted to.

“There is no other way to create two additional GDP points in this country other than the way I’m proposing, not a single thing they can do,” he told ClimateWire.

Obama’s aide faulted

Shah also weighed in on the departure of Heather Zichal, Obama’s top climate aide, by saying on Twitter yesterday that “we all dislike her” because “Heather is not effective on cleantech.”

He said later that he doesn’t hold Zichal responsible for failing to prioritize the clean-tech sector.

“I have nothing against Heather personally,” he said, noting that Obama had failed to appoint someone of “equal stature to Carol Browner,” the president’s previous climate czar. “I think she did exactly what she was told to do.”

With Zichal’s departure, Shah said, the president can show a new commitment to promoting climate change solutions. But that would require a true champion who is placed within arm’s reach of Obama. Shah said he had surrendered any chance of serving in that role himself by speaking so strongly against the president. He also said he wouldn’t offer any suggestions. But then he did.

“Bill Ritter would be a great choice,” Shah said, pointing to the Democratic former governor of Colorado, who now promotes clean energy initiatives at the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University.

Reporter Evan Lehmann contributed.


The International Energy AgencyMcKinsey & Company, the Carbon War Room, among others, have established that we have cost-effective technologies to stave off the worst impacts of climate change. Yet, instead of focusing on deployment, many proven climate change solutions are gathering dust.

To make substantial progress on thwarting climate change emissions, returning to full employment, reducing health care impacts, and protecting water resources, we need more business model innovation and less of an obsession with technology innovation. Under existing policy, proven technologies that save money can be scaled up in cogeneration, local food, small hydro, energy efficiency, vehicle conversions to natural gas, water pressure capture, industrial efficiency, livestock intensification, and energy access.

Read the rest at Stanford Social Innovation Review

Creating Climate Wealth: Unlocking The Impact Economy” is a new book by Jigar Shah, founder of the largest solar services company, SunEdison. Shah internationally recognized for revolutionizing the now multi-billion-dollar solar energy industry, tells how a business model, the power purchase agreement, unlocked the massive potential of the solar industry. He explains that rather than waiting for yet to be developed technology, business model innovation is the key to attract mainstream capital to unlock transformational change in other business that will stave off the impacts of climate change. Shah makes a compelling case for reaching our 2020 climate change goals through, his “100/100 Plan”: 100,000 companies worldwide, each generating $100 million in sales. 


Read the rest at Stanford Social Innovation Review

October 18, 2013
Hosted by Jill Buck

Part autobiography, part treatise, in Creating Climate Wealth, Jigar Shah demonstrates how all of us can participate in the largest wealth creation opportunity of our time. Shah explains that proven, scalable climate solutions, using an infrastructure-as-a-service model, will create the next economy. The book draws lessons from what Shah learned in the creation and success of SunEdison and as CEO of The Carbon War Room. The key message is that climate wealth is at our fingertips – accessible to entrepreneurs, investors, governments, NGO’s, and corporations, and will create thousands of jobs.

Listen to the interview:



Rob Wyse – 212-920-1470




Author Jigar Shah, founder of solar giant SunEdison, shows Climate Solutions are an opportunity to build the new $10 trillion economy

New York, New York – October 8, 2013 — Creating Climate Wealth, Unlocking the New Impact Economy, a new book by Jigar Shah, founder of SunEdison, the largest solar company, is for entrepreneurs, investors, government officials, and believers and non-believers in climate change to discover how to unlock $10 trillion while solving climate change.

The book tells Shah’s story of building SunEdison using the Power Purchase Agreement business model innovation.   Shah shows how it can be repeated for solutions beyond climate change to poverty alleviation, or just deploying projects that make business sense.

Shah wrote, “Everything that made SunEdison succeed was about business structure and not technology. The technology existed, we simply needed the right business model to get it adapted,” said Shah.

Shah provides a proven road map to understanding the Impact Economy, and creating the lasting changes that will improve our world for future generations.

Creating Climate Wealth explains that business model innovation, more than new technology, is the key to attract mainstream capital and unlock transformational change. Shah makes a compelling case that reaching our 2020 climate change goals is our opportunity to create the next economy with the equivalent of 100,000 companies worldwide, each generating $100 million in sales.

Our next economy will be driven by thousands of companies deploying existing clean and resource-efficient technologies in electricity-supply (like solar), transportation, building materials, industry, forestry, waste, and agriculture.

Shah is not alone in his premise.  According to the International Energy Agency, and others, $10 trillion can be invested profitably—today—in the world’s existing technologies, making Shah’s plan of 100,000 companies each generating $100 million in sales a reality in catalyzing a new economy in the process.

What others are saying about Jigar Shah and Creating Climate Wealth:

“Everything Jigar has done proves that profits in energy aren’t just made in dirty fuels. Thanks to entrepreneurs like Jigar, climate change solutions are attracting investors, greener jobs are being created, and industries are saving big money on energy costs.” – Sir Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Group

“…Jigar Shah has the courage to see the crisis we face & the vision to come up with a solution. The ideas in this book , if implemented, could prevent the next mass extinction on our planet & create unprecedented wealth for those who pioneer this new phase for our civilization. “ – Deepak Chopra, Author

“With over 10,000 MWs of expensive new diesel engines installed last year in sub-Saharan Africa, this book provides essential insight to how mainstream capital can flow into climate friendlier ways to meet modern electricity needs while making compelling financial returns.” – Strive Masiyiwa, Founder of Econet Wireless & Board Member of The Rockefeller Foundation

“Shah shows that a new massive wealth opportunity is at our fingertips linking sustainability and economic development.” – Carl Pope, CEO of The Sierra Club

About Jigar Shah:

Jigar Shah grew up in Sterling, Illinois, a rural town of about 15,000 due west of Chicago. From that unassuming beginning, Shah became the person who unlocked a multi-billion dollar worldwide solar industry with the Power Purchase Agreement business model innovation, not a new technology. This model created and fueled SunEdison to become the largest solar services company worldwide.

After SunEdison was sold in 2009, Jigar was appointed the first CEO of the Carbon War Room—the global organization founded by Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Unite to help entrepreneurs address climate change.

Today, as CEO of Jigar Shah Consulting, he works with global companies to deploy existing clean energy solutions fueled by new business models.

He sits on the boards of the Carbon War Room, SolarNexus KMR Infrastructure, and Empower Energies.  Shah holds a BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, and an MBA from The University of Maryland. And Jigar is proud to be an Eagle Scout.

Books can be ordered at Amazon. To connect with Jigar Shah, please visit the following sites:


Media Kit:



Book Trailer:


Angela Merkel solidified her grip on power in Germany while losing her junior coalition party. Although an unlikely prospect, a CDU-Green team-up would likely prove the best option for Germany’s solar industry. …read more

Read more here: PV Magazine

By Conway Irwin

The Environmental Protection Agency unveiled its proposal for Clean Air Act standards to limit carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants on Friday. The agency also announced that it has begun coordinating with state and local governments, industries and non-profit organizations to establish carbon dioxide emissions standards for existing power …read more


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