This paper analyses the field of innovation studies regarding barriers to low-carbon innovation and consequences for finance. It attempts to integrate previously separated literatures, bridge the gap between abstract failures and tangible barriers and add a temporal perspective to allow for more differentiated policy responses. Among the most salient problems for the commercialisation and diffusion of clean technologies, scholars have highlighted the financing environment. A complex set of barriers therefore revolves around the question of how to finance companies, projects and infrastructure based on low-carbon innovation. The paper contributes to a holistic understanding of the underlying mechanisms. A combination of technological barriers combined with economic barriers, institutional and political barriers contribute to thin financial market for low-carbon innovation all along the innovation cycle. Policy makers can chose from a variety of measures address these barriers and mobilise private finance. Avenues for future research relating to financing low-carbon innovation and corresponding policies are depicted.