Wells Fargo has launched a $10 million clean energy grant program to foster early stage technologies that help commercial buildings save energy and improve their environmental performance.
Wells Fargo described the program as the first of its kind within the banking industry.
“The IN2 platform is designed to fill a gap that exists from early stage concept to production for emerging clean technologies,” said Ashley Grosh, vice president, Wells Fargo Environmental Affairs. “The program leverages Wells Fargo’s geographic diversity and expertise in clean energy in commercial buildings, to provide early stage entrepreneurs an alternative pathway towards commercialization. Through our collaboration with NREL, we want to give opportunities to national labs, universities and regional accelerator programs, and entrepreneurs with great ideas for lighting, sensors and controls, space heating and cooling, windows, energy modeling, plug loads, and building envelope.”
The program will offer funding of up to $250,000 to help technologies under development at universities and regional accelerators move toward commercialization.
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Selected tech companies will reach specific milestones in the NREL lab with an opportunity to deploy and field test in Wells Fargo buildings.
The first year of the IN2 program will focus on sustainable buildings technologies that will provide cost savings and reduce the overall negative impact of the built environment on human health and the natural environment. Qualifying technologies may include the following: energy efficiency, lighting solutions, net zero-energy, water efficiency, indoor environmental quality enhancement, waste reduction, materials efficiency, operations and maintenance optimization, datacenter facilities management. Over time, the program will expand its portfolio of selected companies and the scope of clean technology sectors.
“Due to pervasive market barriers, private sector financing is typically limited or unavailable to bring new energy innovations from early-stage laboratory research to proof-of concept prototype and on to full commercial scale,” said Richard Adams, NREL’s Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center director. “This leads to market ‘gaps’ that prove too difficult for many early stage companies to overcome, which often ultimately results in promising technologies falling to the wayside. We are hoping to address these barriers to benefit small companies, our communities and the economy.
The IN2 program is funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation as part of its 2020 Environmental Commitment to provide $100 million to environmentally-focused nonprofits and universities by 2020. Grants support innovative projects and programs led by nonprofits and universities aimed at promoting clean technology and breaking down barriers to accelerate the transition to a greener economy.