Patagonia’s $13 million tax equity in investment for Hawaii’s solar power will utilize both federal and state tax credits for the company’s purchases of solar power systems.
Patagonia’s partner, Hawaii local financial company Kina’ole Capital Partners, LLC, meanwhile, is set to make the availability of the fund – $27 million in total – for solar power installation companies in Hawaii.
This fund will enable over a thousand rooftop solar systems to operate in the 50th state where, currently, homeowners pay thrice the electricity price the average in homes in the U.S. mainland. Patagonia, a company founded in 1973 by Yvon Chouinard that specializes in the manufacture of outdoor apparel, is encouraging other businesses to follow the investment strategy it has taken.
Patagonia’s“$20 million and change”
The company has taken action in providing a kind of roadmap for other companies and organization to do good business by leveraging tax dollars with construction of a network for renewable energy. Designed by artist Eric Junker from California, this roadmap is an infographic published online as an outline of the investment strategy with its benefits on the blog “The Cleanest Line.”
Launched last year, Patagonia’s investment is part of its “$20 Million and Change,” a funding that supports start-up companies with a similar entrepreneurial cum environmental advocacy. According to Chouinard, such funding projects help not only entrepreneurs but innovators for change as well to become successful while working with, instead of against, nature.
Increasing the 10%
According to CEO Rose Marcario, through efforts by Patagonia renewable energy to do smart business and contribute to the reduction of carbon footprints, strong returns on investment are possible. Business, she explained, has a unique position to speed up the creation of infrastructures that use renewable energy.
Hawaii’s renewable energy is only at 10% at the moment but with the purchase of additional solar power systems, this percentage is expected to increase as the statistics for greenhouse gas emissions decline considerably. This reduction is estimated to be 153,000 tons of CO2, the equivalent to roughly 323,000 barrels of fuel oil and 75,000 tons of coal.
Kina’ole’s Partnership with Patagonia
Solar power installation companies will be able to generate employment for Hawaii’s residents, including the Oahu-based company of Patagonia’s “surf ambassador,” Kohl Christensen. Kina’ole founders Andrew Yani and Blair Herbert said the partnership with Patagonia is an opportunity for “a perfect investment” to provide affordable solar energy to Hawaii.
Kina’ole shares Patagonia’s advocacy to displace “dirty” and expensive electricity with clean energy. To this end, Kina’ole offers its customers an option to purchase a solar power system without any upfront cost. Customers just agree to a fixed rate – that is less than that of the state’s utility rate – upon purchase of electricity from a solar system source.
Taking over generators
Eventually, Kina’ole will pave the way for a lower cost of electricity that results in immediate savings to consumers and, at the same time, a reduction in the electricity purchased from the national utility grid. Meanwhile, Patagonia has provided 80 grants to 57 various non-profits amounting to almost $200,000 for use in projects such as native seed banks and marine ecosystem protection.
With funding from both Kina’ole and Patagonia renewable energy can gradually take over the use of generators currently powered by diesel in the Hawaiian islands. B-registered company Patagonia is an advocate of solutions to the global environmental crises and is an initiator of positive change through ethical business practices.