How Silicon Valley Bank collapse affects climate tech

On March 10th Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) failed. As the fallout of the collapse continued to spread over the weekend, it’s important to highlight the bank’s strategic importance to the climate sector.

SVB formed a dedicated cleantech practice approximately 15 years ago, well ahead of most of its financial peers.  In the last decade, the bank worked with more than 1,550 technology firms that are creating solar, hydrogen and battery storage projects. According to its website, they issued $3.2B+ to climate tech companies.  A little over a year ago SVB had even committed $5 billion in loans and investments specifically towards sustainability efforts.

Community solar projects appear to be especially hard hit. Silicon Valley Bank said that it led or participated in 62 percent of financing deals for community solar projects, which are smaller-scale solar projects that often serve lower-income residential areas. It provided more than half a billion dollars in revolving credit to Sunrun, the country’s largest residential solar company.

More attention to the climate tech sector may therefore be required beyond tallying up cash exposure. If there is disproportionate green pain in months to follow, and with already stretched net zero targets moving further out of reach, we will bear an altogether more frightening climate burden than a tech led economic shock.

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