Patagonia plans to use state and federal tax credits to invest $13 million in the construction of solar panels on 1,000 homes in Hawaii, turning the eco-conscious retailer into the financial backer of a green electrical utility.
With the announcement on Wednesday, Patagonia hopes companies across America will follow suit with similar efforts. “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 joining forces with a tiny solar-financing company, Kina’ole Capital Partners, as well as a local Hawaiian bank to create a $27 million fund to pay for rooftop installation and upkeep. Starting in Hawaii makes sense because of its abundant sunshine and sky-high electrical rates; Hawaiians currently pay three times the U.S. average for electricity.