For Immediate Release
Oakland, CA – GRID Alternatives is pleased to announce the launch of the Energy Resilience Fund, a mission-driven investment and loan fund aimed at expanding access to more communities through inclusive financing for clean energy projects that reduces and/or stabilize rising and unpredictable utility costs, and helps achieve sustainability and resiliency goals for a brighter future. The Energy Resilience Fund partners with community-based organizations to develop a pipeline of finance-ready projects, raises philanthropic investments, and uses that capital to leverage public and private funding.
Clean energy technologies such as solar, storage, and EV charging infrastructure can produce significant energy cost savings and reduce building emissions, creating more affordable, cleaner, and healthier housing options. Yet multifamily affordable housing and low-income service providers typically do not have available capital for cash purchases, and they experience credit barriers and split incentives between owner and tenant. These housing providers have also historically been dismissed by investors and lenders as high-risk, resulting in uneven clean energy adoption and distribution of benefits for renters and low-income communities.
“To spur systemic change in decarbonization and environmental justice, philanthropic investments in equitable climate change mitigation must increase drastically on a short timeline. The Energy Resilience Fund provides ongoing support to community partners as they decide how to reduce electricity costs, increase climate resilience, and build capacity through solar education and workforce development,” says Joel Blaine, GRID’s Business and Project Development Director.
Initially seeded by a U.S. Department of Energy grant, the Energy Resilience Fund has raised more than $7M in debt through program-related investments and recoverable crants from BQuest Foundation, Grove Foundation, The Schmidt Family Foundation, Leon Lowenstein Foundation, and donor-advised funds like the Left Coast Fund. The Energy Resilience Fund has provided 13 low-cost bridge loans to multifamily affordable housing projects, leveraging California’s cap and trade funding through the Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing (SOMAH) rebate program. These projects will offset 100% of the electricity costs for tenants and greatly reduce operating costs for affordable housing providers.
“GRID’s Energy Resilience Fund was able to provide us with more financing at lower rates than traditional banks. Without this financing option, our project wouldn’t have been possible. Preservation Equity Funds’ mission is to preserve affordable housing,” said Ryan Arango, Vice President of Asset Management Preservation Equity Fund Advisors. “With solar, we are able to lower utility bills for residents to make paying their rent more affordable.”
"The BQuest Foundation believes that impact investing plays a critical role in helping high-impact clean energy projects get built. Energy Resilience Fund projects will benefit fenceline communities, creating economic opportunities, increasing resilience, and helping mitigate climate change,” said Kara Ballester, President of BQuest Foundation. “Foundations and other impact investors can make a difference on a large scale by providing the type of capital these projects need in order to get built and start creating a positive impact in marginalized communities."
The Energy Resilience Fund is actively raising $50M in philanthropic investments to finance an existing pipeline of 20MW of high-impact multifamily, commercial, and community solar projects that incorporate workforce development, community ownership and long-term energy affordability.
About GRID Alternatives
Renewable energy can drive economic growth and environmental benefits in communities most impacted by underemployment, pollution and climate change. GRID Alternatives is a leader in helping economic and environmental justice communities get clean, affordable renewable energy, transportation, and jobs. Internationally, our energy access work is lighting up off-grid communities in Nepal, Nicaragua, and Mexico. GRID envisions a rapid, equitable transition to a world powered by renewable energy that benefits everyone.