Reinvestment Fund invests $3 million in Sunwealth for solar access

Sunwealth, the renewable energy investment firm working to change who has access to renewable energy by changing the way we invest in it, announced a $3 million loan from Reinvestment Fund to support Sunwealth’s renewable energy access work. This financing, together with $3 million tax-equity investment from private investors, will support the installation of over 2.5 MW of solar capacity–generating enough electricity to power 400+ homes–on rooftops of small businesses, nonprofits and residential buildings in communities underserved by traditional renewable energy financing, generating lifetime energy savings of over $4 million for power purchasers. It will also help catalyze additional investment in Sunwealth’s innovative solar financing model.

Sunwealth brings critical capital to the commercial solar market – supporting smaller-scale solar projects ranging in size from 5 to 750 kW. These projects, harder to underwrite than utility-scale transactions and residential installations in affluent communities with high credit scores, have been underserved by institutional capital sources, creating “solar deserts” among the very populations who could benefit most from clean, affordable electricity, including low-income residents, nonprofit organizations and municipalities. Sunwealth addresses this inequity by connecting community-based solar projects with investors–creating energy savings, reduced carbon emissions and local solar jobs for communities, while generating financial returns for investors.

Take, for example, the rooftop solar installation at the Bornstein and Pearl Food Production Center in Dorchester, financed in part with Reinvestment Fund’s loan. The 59 kW system, developed by Dorchester-based Resonant Energy and installed by NuWatt Energy, will provide power to offset electricity used by the 40+ food-based businesses who use the space, generating close to $100,000 in lifetime energy savings. The solar project, part of building owner Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation’s commitment to sustainability, provides an opportunity for small businesses to benefit from renewable energy savings, while supporting quality green jobs with local developers and installers.

“The Sunwealth team has decades of experience in solar development, structured finance and impact investing,” said Andy Rachlin, managing director of lending and investment at Reinvestment Fund. “They are using that experience to bring renewable energy to communities that have been left behind by commercial lenders. In the process, they are building the capacity of local solar developers; creating energy savings for nonprofit organizations, small business and low-income homeowners; strengthening local resiliency; and providing a model for inclusive investment in renewable energy.”

“Reinvestment Fund is a national leader with a track record of developing models to bring new capital to underserved communities, as well as decades of experience doing clean energy and energy efficiency investment in low-income neighborhoods,” said Jon Abe, CEO at Sunwealth. “We are proud to have them as a partner in Sunwealth’s work, and look forward to working together to expand renewable energy access across all of our communities.”

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