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Generate Capital

Zero-down financing isn’t just for automobile customers anymore. Generate Capital provides flexible financing for deploying practical green technology that saves money and the environment, which is called the infrastructure-as-a-service™ model.

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Investment

Direct equity investment originated in 2015

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Rationale

A specialty finance company driving the installation of hyper-efficient and renewable infrastructure. Generate focuses on small projects other companies ignore. The company’s proposed success maps directly onto the goals of McKnight’s Midwest Climate & Energy program to build a clean, resilient, and economically healthy power sector that reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

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Returns

Financial Returns: The company is executing against its plan well. In September it raised a $200 million funding round, and McKnight has marked up our investment.

Environmental Returns:

2016Metric
201,322Energy Conserved (kWh)
4,233,069Renewable energy produced (kWh)

In addition, Generate has financed over 10 MW in Minnesota community gardens.

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Lessons Learned

Generate has provided a window into lean businesses that are solving climate change today with existing technology and with limited to zero government subsidies. While the solar installation market continues to offer pockets of opportunity, we are hopeful that onsite batteries and fuel cell adoption will continue to accelerate. Additionally, Generate is uncovering opportunities in biomass, water treatment, microgrids and waste processing.

Photo Credits: Generate

Disclaimer of Endorsement: The McKnight Foundation does not endorse or recommend any commercial products, processes, or service providers.

Last updated 11/2017

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