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EPA grants $1.8B to Inclusiv to aid Puerto Rico’s climate change fight

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a $1.87 billion allocation to the nonprofit entity Inclusiv, a U.S. Treasury-certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), which it will use to support credit unions in Puerto Rico.

Specifically, the funds are to be used for initiatives aimed at reducing climate pollution under two programs: the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund’s National Clean Investment Fund and Clean Communities Investment Accelerator. The entities have committed to reducing climate and air pollution, benefiting particularly low-income and disadvantaged communities, and mobilizing financing and private capital in these areas, the EPA said.

Inclusiv’s, role is to help low- and moderate-income people and communities achieve financial independence through credit unions, and was chosen to participate in the Clean Communities Investment Accelerator (CCIA) program to “establish hubs that provide funding and technical assistance to community lenders working in low-income and disadvantaged communities, providing an immediate pathway to deploy projects in those communities while also building capacity of hundreds of community lenders to finance projects for years.”

Inclusiv offers capital and building capacity within a national network of more than 900 credit unions — which include CDFIs and financial “cooperativas” (state-chartered financial institutions) in Puerto Rico — that collectively manage $330 billion in assets and serve 23 million individuals across the country, the agency stated.

“Inclusiv is honored to be selected for the EPA’s Clean Communities Investment Accelerator (CCIA). The grant offers the opportunity to build a more equitable environmental, energy and financial system in this country,” said Cathie Mahon, CEO of Inclusiv.

“We’re thrilled that CCIA will enable us to direct grants and assistance to a network of high-impact, community-owned and governed credit unions and ‘cooperativas’ with deep roots in low-income and disadvantaged communities. Our approach scales lending that will decarbonize communities and enable consumers, households, and businesses to benefit from greater energy efficiency, resilience, and financial security,” Mahon said in a statement.

Inclusiv will deliver capitalization funding, coupled with technical assistance, to credit unions that can direct affordable green loan capital and community development expertise to a broad range of eligible projects, including consumer loans for residential solar installations, home charging stations and energy efficient appliances; real estate lines of credit for decarbonization retrofits of homes and commercial properties; zero-emissions vehicle loans; and business loans for community solar, charging infrastructure and microgrid projects.

“These two programs under the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund are game-changing. They advance clean energy financing and solutions which will directly benefit communities and organizations that were previously left out of the renewable energy transition,” said EPA regional Administrator Lisa F. García. “The $20 billion going to these eight recipients illustrates how the Inflation Reduction Act is investing today to secure a cleaner, healthier planet for tomorrow.”

Eight applicants were chosen to participate, sharing $20 billion in grants.

“Collectively, the selected applicants have committed to driving significant impact toward the program’s objectives. They will reduce or avoid up to 40 million metric tons of climate pollution per year,” the agency noted.

The selectees will provide capitalization funding (typically up to $10 million per community lender), technical assistance subawards (typically up to $1 million per community lender) and technical assistance services. This will enable community lenders to finance distributed energy, net-zero buildings and zero-emissions transportation projects in areas where they are most needed. All capital under the CCIA is dedicated to low-income and disadvantaged communities. 

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 30 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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