Financing Stormwater Retrofits in Philadelphia and Beyond

Philadelphia encourages property owners to install green infrastructure techniques with a flagship stormwater billing structure that includes a significant credit (up to nearly 100 percent) for non-residential owners if they manage to keep the first inch of rainfall on their property rather than letting it runoff into storm drains. This report -- a joint product of NRDC's Water Program and Center for Market Innovation -- uses Philadelphia as a test case to explore how cities can attract billions of dollars in private investment in stormwater retrofits, saving on public infrastructure costs while cleaning waterways and greening communities. Drawing lessons from the energy efficiency finance sphere, it explains how Philadelphia’s stormwater billing structure lays the groundwork for innovative financing mechanisms that can underwrite the capital costs of green infrastructure retrofits. The report provides recommendations for local and state officials, as well as private firms, to stimulate investment.

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