Patagonia Invests $13M in Hawaiian Rooftop Solar Projects

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Patagonia solar fundWhat do you do to further your goal of using business to help solve environmental issues, when you already give back a percentage of your profits to environmental organizations, you’ve become a B Corp (benefit corporation), you’re convincing your customers that they can repair their old gear and that they don’t need your latest product, you’ve been actively working on supply chain transparency, and you’ve helped to create an index of social and environmental performance for developing better products and materials?

If what Patagonia is doing is any indication of sustainable business best practices, then you put your money where your mouth is and use innovate partnerships and initiatives to make a bigger impact.

Last year, Patagonia, one of the leaders of sustainable business practices, launched an internal investment fund, called $20 Million and Change, in order to help responsible startups bring positive benefits to the environment, with the belief that our future success depends on “working with nature rather than using it up”.

One way of working with nature instead of against it is by integrating more renewable energy into the power mix, especially in places where electricity is both expensive and dirty, such as Hawaii. To help boost solar power in the Aloha state, Patagonia’s $20 Million and Change has partnered with a small solar financing company, Kina’ole Capital Partners, and a local bank, to create a $27 million fund to underwrite rooftop solar and install solar on over 1000 Hawaiian homes.

Patagonia is investing $13 million in this solar financing initiative, essentially drawing a roadmap that other companies can follow to get their money involved and working for the benefit of people, place, and planet as well.

“This is smart business for Patagonia and good news for homeowners in Hawaii, who pay way too much for dirty electricity. I hope other companies see how this strategy can bring strong returns and think seriously about doing the same thing. Business is in a unique position to accelerate the creation of renewable energy infrastructure.” – Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario

In Hawaii, residential ratepayers currently have to pay about 3 times as much for electricity (37.7 cents/kWh, as compared to the US average of 12.31 cents/kWh), while also depending in large part on dirty polluting energy sources such as coal and oil. According to Patagonia, the 1000 rooftop solar systems purchased and installed through the Kina’ole Solar Fund will not only enable homeowners to save an average of 35% on their utility bills, but will also end up displacing about 153,000 tons of CO2 emissions over their lifetime.

Find out more about the Kina’ole Solar Fund at the website.

[Image: Patagonia]

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