Part of Patagonia’s (a high end outdoor clothing company) mission statement is to “use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” It’s easy to write that as part of a mission statement and stick it on a website with an inspiring outdoor landscape as the background, but its another thing entirely to live up to it. But Patagonia’s creation (in conjunction with four other companies) of a $35 million fund to finance residential rooftop solar panel installations across eight states proves the company is trying to live up to its own expectations.
Due to the concept of tax equity investing, which is a complex type of transaction that is limiting the pool of investors for clean energy development, financiers of solar projects are entitled to a tax credit worth 30 percent of a project’s cost. The problem is that not all developers have enough profit to use it.
Larger companies like Google and Walmart have invested in clean energy installations to help with the energy needs of their own companies, but very few companies have focused on helping spread this clean energy to families who couldn’t otherwise afford it themselves.
Patagonia is working with Kina’ole Capital, a solar finance company, New Resource bank, Beneficial State bank, and Sungevity, a solar panel installer, to help bring solar energy to the masses. The fund will help to bring rooftop solar panels to more than 1,500 residential roofs across eight states. Patagonia’s chief executive, Rose Marcario, said she hopes this will act as a model for other companies that are interested in having a positive impact.
The eight states the fund will cover are Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York.