Wells Fargo Bank invests heavily in solar company

Wells Fargo Bank announced plans earlier this week to invest $100 million in China-based GCL solar to install new solar electric power plants in the United States.

A press release from Wells Fargo said the company has entered into the agreement in an effort to push the solar industry forward and support renewable energy, while creating new solar plants and opportunities for Americans to buy clean energy at rates equal to or lower than traditional energy generated at fossil-fuel burning plants.

“While the GCL agreement is new, Wells Fargo has been investing in and funding renewable energy projects for the last five years,” wrote Katie Ellis, with Wells Fargo corporate communications, in an e-mail.

She said the banking giant’s dedication to clean energy is not new, but a continuing effort to support growth in the green economy.

Wells Fargo has invested more than $2 billion in renewable energy since 2006, Ellis wrote. The company’s investment in green business is an indication of its interest in environmental concerns, she added.

Wells Fargo has funded more than 30 wind projects, 190 commercial-scale solar projects and one utility-scale solar thermal project over the last five years, Ellis wrote.

The bank’s press release also states that it hopes the investment of $100 million will help to stimulate the economy and create new green jobs.

Barry Neal, director of the Wells Fargo environmental finance group, said in the press release that he hopes the new investment will help the U.S. solar market grow and help businesses and public entities better control costs.

Neal also indicated that the bank is happy to be contracting with such a big name in the solar industry.

Ellis said her office is not allowed to discuss the particulars of its agreements with specific companies, so she could not say why the bank decided to allot such a large sum to one specific company rather than spreading the money out to different, smaller corporations.

But she wrote that GCL is a well-respected member of the solar industry with a bright future, and Wells Fargo expects its investment will help GCL’s customers save on their energy bills.

Pictured: GCL's Xuzhou solar plant in China, which boasts an impressive 20 megawatts of power. Image courtesy of idustcards.com.