Fund Invests $1.5 Million in Clean Energy Projects in Virginia

The Jessie Ball duPont Fund is investing $1.5 million in development of clean energy projects, specifically solar, in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

In early 2017, the funds will be allocated as a Program Related Investment to Virginia Community Capital, a community development financial institution that supports housing and community development projects across the Commonwealth. Virginia Community Capital has offices in Richmond, Norfolk and Christiansburg, Virginia.

Virginia Community Capital said it expects to deploy the funds within 18 months, based on the volume of projects in its pipeline. Those projects include development of solar farms, installation of rooftop solar equipment on small businesses and installation of larger solar projects at entities such as public school systems.  

“The purpose of these Clean Energy financing products aligns with VCC’s mission to contribute to the success of either vital community development projects or small businesses fostering job creation in Virginia,” the company said.

Program Related Investments (PRIs) are investments by a charitable foundation at below-market rates to support organizations that are addressing social or community concerns. PRIs often take the form of loans, promissory notes or equity investments. They are like grants in that they support organizations and activities that are in furtherance of the foundation’s mission. They are different from grants in that they must be repaid.

The PRI to Virginia Community Capital is a 7-year loan at 2% interest.

The Jessie Ball duPont Fund’s PRI program, launched in 2009, targets projects in Florida, Virginia and Delaware around four focus areas:

  • Preservation and development of affordable housing;
  • Growth of the renewable energy and sustainable energy sectors;
  • Job creation and enterprise development, particularly in Southern rural communities;
  • Financing of community facilities that serve low-wealth communities (e.g., child-care facilities, community health clinics).

With the PRI to Virginia Community Capital, the Fund has made PRIs totaling $5.3 million.

The Fund has spent almost a decade investing in clean energy and energy conservation projects, primarily through grants. In 2009, the Fund launched a program to encourage small colleges to better manage energy use and, thereby, reduce energy costs. That program was expanded to independent schools, and the Fund also helped community and religious organizations reduce energy consumption and costs.

“We know that organizations and businesses can strengthen their bottom line by reducing energy costs,” said Sherry Magill, president of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund. “These changes, though sometimes incremental, have cumulative long-term impact. We are happy to support Virginia Community Capital as it works to create a more efficient and cleaner energy network in Virginia.”