Patagonia, an environmentally conscious retailer of outdoor clothing and gear, and a group of four other certified B-Corporations have invested $35 million into a tax equity fund to finance residential solar installations on more than 1,500 rooftops across eight states.
According to a release from the apparel company, the new fund will involve Patagonia as the tax equity investor; Kinaʻole as the fund manager; New Resource Bank and Beneficial State Bank as lenders; and Sungevity as the project developer. Patagonia asserts that the consortium created this fund to make the benefits of solar power available to over a thousand U.S. households – including homeowners in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.
This new fund, according to Patagonia, uses state and federal tax credits to direct its tax dollars to the residential development of affordable and efficient Sungevity solar energy systems.
“We’re doubling down on an investment strategy that brings great financial returns while supporting the clean energy economy,” says Rose Marcario, Patagonia’s CEO. “B Corps know how to make money while creating broader benefits – but any company would be smart to leverage their tax dollars this way.”
Patagonia states that homeowners will not need to pay any upfront costs but will sign power purchase agreements to buy solar energy for less than their utility’s rates. Surplus energy will be sold back to the utility. Per the release, Sungevity is set to manage the contracts, installations and customer service.
Over their 20-year lifespan, the rooftop systems installed through the fund are expected to produce 200 million kWh of electricity – the equivalent of taking 30,000 cars off the road.
The retailer says this is the second solar fund it has established to support residential solar installations. In 2014, Patagonia and Kina‘ole Capital Partners invested $27 million to install 1,000 residential PV systems on homes in Hawaii.
Patagonia’s latest investment comes through its $20 Million & Change fund, launched in 2013 to help like-minded startup companies bring about solutions to the environmental crisis. Citing Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, the release states the fund was initiated to help entrepreneurs and innovators succeed in “working with nature rather than using it up.”