New Grants Awarded to Support Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Financing

Roland Kamara | Associate, Member Relations, OFN

From Appalachian coal country to the Mississippi Delta, 24 CDFIs will receive grants to bring climate-smart financial products to their communities

Community development financial institutions (CDFIs) have tremendous capacity to address the energy and environmental challenges facing economically distressed communities.  

Low-income communities are often those that are also most impacted by our changing climate. These are the same markets served by CDFIs: flood prone areas like New Orleans 9th ward, manufactured housing communities impacted by extreme heat in the Southwest, farmworkers and rural communities displaced by wildfires in California, coastal communities of color in Florida and along the Gulf Coast — all communities served by mission lenders working to address the impacts of climate change. 

On December 7, Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) announced the latest recipients of the Renewable and Energy Efficiency Financing Grant. Twenty-four member CDFIs will receive awards of $50,000 to $200,000, for a total of $2.9 million. The funding provides lending capital or loan loss reserves for renewable and energy-efficiency financing programs. 

Among the awardees is a project in Northern Kentucky that will provide patient and affordable capital, combined with technical assistance, to support energy efficiency upgrades for commercial projects. In New Orleans, the grant funding will provide cash to low- and middle-income contractors to take on more green infrastructure projects. Another project, national in scope, will finance solar microgrids with battery backup at federally qualified health centers in low-income communities.

With their specialized expertise in reaching markets underserved by mainstream finance, CDFIs are ideally positioned to finance projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. OFN has previously awarded more than $2.3 million to 26 member CDFIs through this grant program. 

2022 Renewable and Energy Efficiency Financing Grantees 

Visit OFN’s website to learn more about the Renewable and Energy Efficiency Financing Grant and see the complete list of awardees. 

Taking Action on Climate 

The Inflation Reduction Act includes a new grant program to mobilize financing for clean energy and climate projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, focusing on low-income and disadvantaged communities. Administered by the Environmental Protection Agency, the $27 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund is a potential source of new capital for CDFIs if the program includes CDFIs and other mission lenders.  

OFN is committed to ensuring the new Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund reaches communities most impacted by climate change, and CDFIs are ideally positioned to finance projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions in these communities. Read our recent comment letter to the Environmental Protection Agency

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