SELF Unveils Southern Climate Equity Accelerator
The Solar and Energy Loan Fund (SELF), America’s first local green bank and Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), has launched the “Southern+ Climate Equity Accelerator” (SCEA+) to help prepare a group of green lenders – including emerging green banks and CDFIs – for the deployment of public and private funds that will catalyse the region’s transition to a clean energy economy with a focus on low-income communities.
The Solar and Energy Loan Fund (SELF) is a nonprofit green bank that finances sustainable property improvements.
JPMorgan Chase committed $2 million to support the rollout of the Southern Climate Equity Accelerator, which aims to raise millions more in private and public capital to build an ecosystem of community-based organisations that will support an inclusive transition to a clean energy economy. SELF welcomes investors and philanthropic funders with an interest in climate equity to participate in advancing the Accelerator’s goals.
“The Southern+ Climate Equity Accelerator’s goal is to help prepare and build the capacity of nascent green banks, CDFIs, and community-based organisations (CBOs), which are most able to nimbly confront the environmental, economic, and political challenges unique to their communities,” said David Graber, SELF’s Director of Green Affordable Housing, who helped launch the initiative. To achieve this goal, SELF will share its expertise gained since 2010 to facilitate members’ access to technical assistance, loan capital, turnkey products, credit enhancements, data, impact measurement tools, contractor development strategies, grants, and a workforce development fund.
The South has many of our nation’s most climate-vulnerable and energy-burdened communities. The region also lacks policies, programmes, and capital providers to address these issues, which is what triggered the idea of the Accelerator.
“As the only established hybrid green bank and CDFI in the South, SELF has a responsibility to lead and share its experience with colleagues to help them meet the needs of communities throughout our region,” remarked Duanne Andrade, SELF’s Executive Director. “Our vision is for the Accelerator to pursue a more just and equitable transition to a clean energy economy.”
Although the Accelerator currently focuses on the South, participation is open to existing and emerging green banks, CDFIs, and other green community lenders across the country. Inaugural members include the Clean Energy Fund of Texas, Energy Alabama, Finance New Orleans, Freedmen Green Bank & Trust, Invest Atlanta, Nevada Clean Energy Fund, North Carolina Clean Energy Fund, and the South Carolina Clean Energy and Resilience Accelerator.
Since 2010, SELF has financed over 3,400 sustainable and climate-resilient property improvements and created over $40 million of green economic development activity, leveraging over $100 million in total projects.
To learn more, visit www.solarenergyloanfund.org/accelerator.