Patagonia plans to invest $13 million in the construction of solar panels on about 1,000 homes in Hawaii. Patagonia also hopes that other companies in the US will follow this effort.
Any U.S. public or private company who pays their fair share of taxes can use this strategy to speed up the development of new energy infrastructure,” Rose Marcario, Patagonia’s chief executive, said in an interview. “And they can make money doing it and create jobs.”
Patagonia is teaming with a small solar finance company, Kina’ole Capital Partners, and a local Hawaiian bank in order to create a fund to pay for rooftop maintenance and upkeep. Each solar panel will be customized according to the household’s needs to not overproduce energy. Hawaiians currently pay three times of what the US does for electricity, so the efforts are necessary. Currently, the goal is to make solar energy available at no upfront cost. Instead, customers will pay monthly fees for electricity generated (which is 40 percent less than the current average in Hawaii).
If the system doesn’t produce power, [customers] don’t pay,” says Andrew Yani, a co-founder of Kina’ole. “So we’re incentivized to make sure it works.”
According to Patagonia’s announcement, solar panel installations will reduce greenhouse emissions by 153,000 tons of CO₂ over their two-decade lifetime. That is equivalent to 323,000 barrels of oil. This is Patagonia’s first investment in renewable energy. By joining forces with Kina’ole, both parties also expect to see an increase in profitability.
I think we could really start a renewable energy movement in the U.S.” said Marcario. “If businesses act, and we don’t wait for policy, or those in the current energy infrastructure who are really interested in protecting the status quo, it could make a big difference.”
Read more here – “Patagonia Will Start Paying for Homeowners’ Solar Panels,” (Caroline Winter, Bloomberg).