Over the past few years some of the largest U.S. companies such as Google and Apple, as well as giant retail chains Walmart, Costco and Whole Foods have invested in a variety of clean energy projects, or placed rooftop PV on their own facilities. Environmentally conscious clothing and gear company Patagonia, however, has chosen another way to promote and expand clean energy use in the country.
The company announced its plans to create a $35 million tax equity fund, which will use state and federal tax credits and direct Patagonias tax dollars to purchase more than 1,500 residential solar energy systems for homeowners in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.
Homeowners will pay no upfront costs but instead sign power purchase agreements (PPAs) to buy solar energy for less than their utilitys rates, the apparel company says. Any surplus energy produced by the panels is then sold back to the utility.
This will be the second solar fund established by Patagonia. The previous one, totaling $27 million, was developed in 2014 and oversaw the installation 1,000 residential PV systems in Hawaii.
The new fund will bring together five B Corporations: Patagonia as the tax equity investor; Kina?ole as the fund manager; New Resource Bank and Beneficial State Bank as lenders, and Sungevity as the project developer.
Patagonias investment comes via its $20 Million & Change fund, launched in 2013 to help startup companies develop solutions to environmental crises.
Were doubling down on an investment strategy that brings great financial returns while supporting the clean energy economy, Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario said in the announcement. B Corps know how to make money while creating broader benefitsbut any company would be smart to leverage their tax dollars this way.