RSF Social Finance Invests $5 Million in Sunwealth to Increase Access to Solar, Create Meaningful Energy Savings, and Spur Green Jobs
Mar 14 2023
Loan finances community-based solar projects on houses of worship, schools, nonprofits, and small businesses nationwide
SAN FRANCISCO—RSF Social Finance has provided a $5 million debt loan to clean energy investment firm Sunwealth to support a portfolio of 26 community-based solar projects across five states. More than one-third of the portfolio directly benefits low- to moderate-income (LMI) communities.
Sunwealth, based in Cambridge, Mass., delivers meaningful energy savings to customers and increases access to solar power for households and organizations that otherwise might be left behind in the clean energy transition. RSF’s loan also supports Sunwealth’s Solar Access Program, which make solar power affordable to LMI communities by eliminating upfront costs and allowing any building—regardless of the owner’s income or credit score—to host a solar project and receive energy savings.
The 26-project portfolio totals 3.1 megawatts (MW) of clean energy that will deliver $5.8 million in lifetime energy savings to Sunwealth customers, reduce over 74,000 metric tons of carbon emissions, and create over 100 lifetime job years for local solar developers and installers. Projects funded through RSF Social Finance’s investment include:
- A group of solar installations totaling 69 kilowatts (kW) on the roofs of three houses of worship across the city of Boston as part of the Solar Access Program: Bethel AME Church, the Church of St. Augustine and St. Martin, and the Second Church in Dorchester. The solar projects will deliver a combined $112,000 in lifetime energy savings to the three churches.
- A set of solar projects totaling 286 kW on the rooftops of Symmes Valley Elementary School and Symmes Valley High School in Willow Wood, Ohio, in the Appalachian region. Developed in partnership with Illinois-based TMI Energy Solutions, the pair of installations will deliver over $128,000 in lifetime energy savings to the Symmes Valley Local School District.
- A 247 kW rooftop solar project located at Pacific EcoRisk in Fairfield, Calif., developed in partnership with Solaris Energy. Pacific EcoRisk is an environmental consulting firm conducting research and testing in the fields of environmental toxicology, aquatic biology, and environmental chemistry. This project will save Pacific EcoRisk $733,000 over the project’s lifetime.
Sunwealth’s innovative solar financing model brings critical capital to the community-based solar market, supporting solar projects on rooftops, parking lots, and other underutilized spaces in the built environment. Projects range in size from 5 kW to upwards of 5 MW. The company partners with local solar developers and installers to build projects that deliver solar access and long-term energy savings to customers including nonprofits, schools, municipalities, small businesses, affordable housing authorities, and LMI households.
“RSF wants to address climate change in a way that not only protects the most vulnerable communities but also gives them a real share in the clean economy,” said Michael Jones, vice president of lending business development at RSF Social Finance. “Our investment in Sunwealth achieves that goal, financing a portfolio that prioritizes solar access, savings, and green job creation while providing new liquidity for a social enterprise focused on democratizing clean energy.”
“Our partnership with RSF enables Sunwealth to remain catalytic with its community impact,” said Omar Blayton, chief financial officer of Sunwealth. “RSF continues to demonstrate its leadership through thoughtful and innovative investments. We look forward to collaborating with them for years to come.”
About RSF Social Finance
RSF Social Finance offers innovative opportunities to invest, give, and get funding that generates positive social, economic, and environmental impact. Since 1984, RSF has made over $850 million in loans and grants supporting social enterprises in the areas of food and agriculture, education and the arts, and climate and the environment. Find out more about how RSF connects social entrepreneurs with diverse forms of capital. Follow @RSFSocFinance.
Sarah Grolnic-McClurg, Thinkshift Communications
(o) 510-898-1837, (m) 415-828-3143
Sunwealth is a clean energy investment firm working to change who has access to renewable energy by changing the way we invest in it. Combining deep experience in solar development and finance with roots in community and impact investing, Sunwealth invests in diverse commercial solar projects delivering clean energy and energy savings to communities while providing strong financial returns to investors and community partners. Since 2014, the company has invested over $135 million across 575 community-based solar projects nationwide; the company has delivered targeted returns to investors for eight years with no defaults. In 2021 and 2022, Impact Assets named Sunwealth to its IA 50, a leading list of impact fund managers; Environmental Finance named Sunwealth’s Solar Impact Fund its 2022 Environmental Fund of the Year. Learn more at www.sunwealth.com.