Interviews - August 6, 2021
At Solar Impulse Foundation, we could not do what we do without the amazing work of our Expert Community. The Experts are a group of professionals working in science, engineering, business and more, with a wealth of knowledge and experience on sustainable technologies. Using this knowledge, the Experts assess solutions seeking the Efficient Solution Label to ensure that a high standard is being met by our solutions.
Each month, we recognise the hard work and dedication of an Expert in our Community. We are pleased to say that July's Expert of the Month is Enrique Rebolledo! Having joined as an Expert in April 2019, Enrique has helped to label seventeen solutions. Thank you for your hard work and dedication, Enrique! In this article, we hear more about Enrique's experience as a climate finance expert and his time as an Expert.
Please tell us a little about yourself!
Enrique: I live in Spain, which is a perfect bridge between the emerging and advanced economies in the transition to a climate resilient world. I am an economist, with a lucky professional life that made me a climate economist 20 years ago!
Can you tell us about your area of expertise and profession (E.g. What does your current role focus on, what areas of sustainability does your work focus on?)
I am a climate finance expert, with experience in implementing (and financing!) solutions towards a more sustainable world. Most of my work is on climate risk and finance, as they relate to building resilient value chains and infrastructure.
The world of sustainable finance is changing fast. What promising changes have you seen in recent years?
I see that the financing landscape is changing very fast, with an investor community increasing the demand for sustainable and net-zero projects. On one hand we have more money than ever for sustainable solutions. On the other hand we are trying to find the projects that are shovel ready, and seeding the solutions to cope with global environmental change, and social challenges.
What are the biggest changes needed to make the financial sector play its part in tackling climate change? How can this be achieved?
Project preparation financing is key to have substantial momentum to comply with environmental and social challenges, this requires the financial sector to better understand new business models as well as analysing risks in a larger timescale. The financial sector is taking bold strides in aligning their investment and financial products with the Paris Agreement, such as the EBRD, or increasing their commitments to have more than 50% of their portfolio on climate-related financing.
What kinds of solutions have you assessed as an Expert with the Solar Impulse Foundation?
Most of my work with the Solar Impulse Foundation is related to agribusiness, which are strengthening domestic value chains, particularly in the context of the green recovery we need after COVID. Other topics include urban energy and mobility solutions, which are also changing dramatically the quality of life of people, and creating quality jobs, which is an angle that is highly valued by the new generation of investors and stakeholders in general.
Solar Impulse Foundation recently announced two new funds in collaboration with our partners to help scale the Labelled Solutions. How important are initiatives like this for supporting new clean solutions, and how can we see more initiatives like this to support cleantech?
Cleantech requires strategic support and advice. The two new funds supported by the Solar Impulse Foundation point in the right direction in fostering investment in emerging technologies, reducing the perceived risks, and crowding in financing from multiple parties. These initiatives require a vision and understanding of technology and financing, so they are very welcomed by the cleantech community.
What are your hopes for the labeled solutions, and the mission of the Solar Impulse Foundation more widely?
I would love to see domestic chapters of the Solar Impulse Foundation, linking entrepreneurs, investors, and policymakers in exchanging Labeled Solutions globally. This process goes both ways, so there is so much to learn, and so little time to act!
Find out more about the Expert Community and how to become an Expert.