Patagonia Boosts Solar Efforts With $27M Fund

Ventura, California-based outdoor clothing company Patagonia is giving a big boost to the solar industry, saying today that it is investing over $13M to help create a new, $27M fund to purchase more than 1,000 rooftop solar power systems in Hawaii. According to Patagonia, it has entered into a deal with Kina'ole Capital Partners, to purchase more than 1,000 rooftop solar power systems in the island state, which is a prime candidate for converting to solar power due to the very high expense of importing coal and oil to the islands. Patagonia said that homeowners in Hawaii currently pay three times the U.S. average for electricity. The new funds go towards solar leases, those leases which help homeowners install a solar power system without the upfront costs. Patagonia's new project does have one major hurdle: Hawaii Electric, the incumbent electric power provider in Hawaii, which has reportedly holding solar power hostage in the state, with over 4,400 solar rooftop installations backlogged in its systems. The power company--which has a vested interest in discouraging solar power in Hawaii--apparently has been dragging its feet up to nine months to approve systems on the islands. Image of a crew installing a solar power system in Hawaii, via Patagonia.