Bennet: Export-Import Bank Can Help Expand Markets for Colorado Clean Tech Industry

Bipartisan Export-Import Bank Reauthorization Bill Clears Key Senate Hurdle

Includes Bennet Provisions Encouraging Financing for Renewable Energy and Increased Reporting on Renewable Energy Exports

Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today helped pass a bipartisan bill out of the Senate Banking Committee to ensure the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank can continue to help finance American exports, spur job growth and expand markets for Colorado’s renewable energy and clean tech industries.

“This is a common-sense, fiscally responsible way to help open up new markets to Colorado products, expand our businesses and spur job growth,” said Bennet. “The Export-Import Bank has assisted American employers that want to grow, reach new markets and create good-paying jobs. At times like these, it is incredibly important that we have such a dependable lending resource to help us compete in the global economy and keep jobs here at home.”

The Export-Import Reauthorization Act of 2011 extends the bank’s lending authority for another four years and expands the amount it can lend and guarantee, allowing it to provide loans to more American companies that want to reach markets abroad.

The bill also includes a provision Bennet authored to encourage the Ex-Im Bank to increase financing of exports for renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. Bennet’s provision also requires the bank to work to identify and break down barriers preventing it from increasing financing of environmentally friendly technologies. From 2003 through the first half of 2010, only 0.23 percent of the Ex-Im Bank’s financing went to renewable energy transactions.

“Colorado’s renewable energy and clean tech industries are growing quickly and are perfectly positioned to expand their products to new markets abroad,” said Bennet. “If we are going to compete in this global economy, the Export-Import Bank and other financing resources have to focus on these growing clean energy industries.”

Earlier this year, the Ex-Im Bank announced that it was providing Abound Solar Inc. of Loveland a $9.2 million long-term loan to support exports of thin-film solar photovoltaic modules for a solar project in India. It represents the type of financing that Bennet hopes will expand.

"Potential international customers of Abound Solar know that – if approved – they can receive a favorable export loan from the Ex-Im Bank for their project,” said Julian Hawkins, senior vice president of Sales and Marketing at Abound. “This fact has helped Abound Solar – a young, Colorado-based company – compete in the global marketplace.  The Ex-Im Bank has especially been important – and will continue to be important – in our expansion into growth markets such as India.”

For 77 years, the Export-Import Bank of the United States has been our country’s official export credit agency, and it helps to finance the export of U.S. products to markets abroad. This resource has become increasingly important as traditional lending dried up during the financial crisis. 

In July, Bennet pushed for Ex-Im Bank to focus more financing on renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies at a Senate Banking Committee hearing. For video from that hearing, please click here.