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EIG OZ Webinar Series | Financing Clean Energy Solutions in Opportunity Zones

Jul 30, 2021

On July 20, the Economic Innovation Group (EIG) hosted a webinar to discuss how Opportunity Zones (OZ) equity can be used to advance climate solutions by expanding clean energy innovation and infrastructure. Guest speakers shared their strategies for driving capital to operating businesses and clean energy assets that create well-paying jobs, upskill workers living in some of the nation’s most distressed communities, and advance clean energy initiatives.

View presentation slides, a recording of the webinar, and EIG’s key takeaways for more information.

Key Takeaways

EIG’s Emma Hecker kicked-off the webinar by providing an overview of EIG’s analysis of OZ activity in Ohio, and reminded attendees that additional OZ resources and tools can be found on EIG’s website.

Rachel Reilly from Aces & Archers then provided an overview of the Biden administration’s proposals to target tax incentives and Federal funding toward supporting businesses, projects, and infrastructure improvements tied to advancing clean energy and improving climate outcomes. Specifically, the Made in America Tax Plan includes proposals geared toward expanding production of electric vehicles, increasing investment in clean electricity assets, jumpstarting clean energy manufacturing through federal procurement, modernizing power generation, and supporting demonstration projects for climate R&D priorities. The OZ policy is well-positioned to attract private investment and leverage public funding and incentives tied to clean energy infrastructure and innovation.

Julia Wilkinson from OBE Power provided an overview of the Latinx-led startup’s model for expanding electric vehicle (EV) powering stations, and how the business secured an OZ investment to support their expansion.

  • ​​OBE Power is headquartered at the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC), a purpose-driven coworking space located in a Miami, Florida OZ. OBE is working to reduce carbon emissions in the United States by accelerating the nation’s transition to e-Mobility. 
  • OBE secured an OZ investment from Verte OZ as part of a capital raise that will allow the startup to expand its footprint nationally and add jobs, including at other CIC locations in OZs. 
  • OBE Power seeks partnerships to upskill and hire local residents interested in working in the clean energy economy, and believes that distributed energy, in general, allows for greater resilience and inclusion in energy production and usage. 

Paul Mitchell from Energy Systems Network (ESN) shared details on Hoosier Solar, an Indiana-based energy company that has secured OZ investment to develop solar assets in rural OZs throughout the state.

  • ESN partnered with Inovateus Solar, a South Bend-based solar development, construction and engineering firm, and Advantage Capital, an experienced investor in solar, to establish Hoosier Solar. 
  • Hoosier Solar is dedicated to developing, constructing and owning over 1 Gigawatt of solar assets in Indiana’s OZs. Benefits will include: reduced energy costs for residents, local property tax revenue, local procurement and employment, and state-wide economic development and growth.
  • Hoosier Solar executes market-rate ground leases with local landowners in rural Indiana, which provides an opportunity for long-term revenue generation on underutilized land and wealth creation for landowners in OZs.
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