Sesame Solar at the White House Climate Capital Convening: Paving the Way for Renewable Solutions

Sesame Solar at the White House Climate Capital Convening: Paving the Way for Renewable Solutions
Published on
June 5, 2024

Sesame Solar was honored to be invited to the White House Climate Capital Convening on Thursday, May 30th. This significant event, led by senior officials Director Lael Brainard (National Economic Council), Administrator Isabel Guzman (Small Business Administration), and Ali Zaidi (National Climate Policy Advisor), brought together 21 invitees, including climate tech founders, venture capitalists, and representatives from accelerators and incubators. Our co-founder and President, Lauren Flanagan, represented Sesame Solar, joining other notable participants such as Alfred Johnson from Crux Climate, Rick Fox from Partanna, and Mary Yap from Lithos.

Held in the historic Indian Treaty Room, the convening aimed to solicit actionable ideas to accelerate the impact of the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Deputies and aides from the National Economic Council, the SBA, and the Office of Climate Policy diligently took notes as we shared our proposals.

Recent White House Actions

During the convening, the White House announced several initiatives to support climate tech and expand access to capital:

  • Climate Capital Guidebook: The White House released a comprehensive guidebook  that provides a map of capital programs available to climate-related startups, small- and medium-sized businesses, and their investors. This guidebook includes information on grants, loans, and equity investments made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Inflation Reduction Act, and annual appropriations. It also provides details on eligible entities, uses, deal size, application requirements, program websites, and points of contact.
  • Expansion of the SBA's 504 Loan Program: The SBA is lifting its cap on the number of 504 loans that small businesses can receive for "energy public policy projects." This includes projects that reduce energy consumption and those that incorporate renewable energy technologies. By allowing small businesses to bundle multiple 504 loans, the SBA aims to support projects that leverage clean energy technologies, lower production costs, improve energy efficiency, and contribute to emissions reduction goals.

Proposals by Sesame Solar for Advancing Climate Tech

At the White House Climate Capital Convening, Sesame Solar had the opportunity to present three strategic proposals aimed at accelerating the adoption of climate technologies and enhancing the nation's resilience to climate change. These proposals focus on leveraging federal mandates, financial incentives, and streamlined processes to drive significant environmental and economic benefits. 

Here are the details of our proposals:

1. Renewable Power Mandate for FEMA and Increased Tax Credits for the Power Rental Companies that serve FEMA

Lauren Flanagan presented a bold request for the President to mandate that FEMA transition to 100% renewable power sources for emergency response by 2030, with a 50% implementation target by 2027. This proposal includes increasing IRA tax credits and direct payments to Power Rental companies such as United Rentals and Sunbelt to 50%, with incentives up to 60% for achieving CO2 reduction targets. This would encourage these companies to invest in mobile renewable power solutions, benefiting not only FEMA but also other industries such as Entertainment and Construction, which are striving to decarbonize. This initiative promises a significant reduction in CO2 emissions from fossil fuel generators, supporting the broader goal of a sustainable future.

2. New SBA Loan for Climate Tech Companies

We proposed the creation of a new SBA loan specifically for Climate Tech companies, featuring deferred principal payments for the first 2-3 years in exchange for warrants to share in upside returns. Additionally, loan forgiveness could be offered if CO2 reduction goals are met. This innovative financial instrument, inspired by similar EU initiatives, would provide much-needed support to emerging climate tech companies, enabling them to scale and make a substantial impact on emissions reduction.

3. Enhanced Interagency Communications for Vetted Climate Tech Companies to Speed Procurement

Lauren advocated for a streamlined procurement process for Climate Tech companies that have already been vetted for specific contract instruments, such as Sesame Solar’s vetting by the Defense Logistics Agency for the Congressionally funded Special Operations Equipment Contract. By notifying all relevant agencies, this process would eliminate redundant vetting procedures, saving time and resources and allowing climate tech companies to focus on their core mission of developing and deploying innovative solutions.

Benefits of the Proposals

The proposals presented by Sesame Solar at the White House Climate Capital Convening are designed to drive significant advancements in the fight against climate change. By focusing on key areas such as renewable energy adoption, financial support for climate tech companies, and efficient contracting processes, these initiatives promise to accelerate progress towards a sustainable future. Below are the specific benefits of each proposal:

Accelerated Transition to Renewable Energy: The mandate for FEMA to adopt renewable power sources, coupled with increased tax credits and direct payments, would accelerate the transition to clean energy in emergency response and other critical sectors. This would not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions but also set a precedent for other government agencies and industries to follow.

Enhanced Financial Support for Climate Tech: The proposed SBA loan with deferred payments and potential loan forgiveness would provide early stage climate tech companies with additional financial support needed to innovate and grow. This would help foster a thriving ecosystem of startups dedicated to developing cutting-edge solutions for climate change.

Efficient Contracting Processes: Streamlining the procurement process for climate tech contracts would reduce their administrative burdens and enable faster deployment of innovative technologies. This would enhance the overall efficiency and effectiveness of climate tech initiatives, driving more rapid progress towards sustainability goals.


Sesame Solar’s participation in the White House Climate Capital Convening highlights our commitment to driving impactful climate solutions. Through our proposals and continued collaboration with policymakers and industry leaders, we aim to accelerate the transition to a sustainable future. We are proud to contribute to these critical discussions and look forward to the positive changes that will result from this convening.

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