SELF, America’s First Community Development Green Bank, Launches the “Southern Climate Equity Accelerator”

A first cohort of nascent green funds joined this new regional initiative led by SELF to prepare for the deployment of federal funds that aim to support the region’s transition to an equitable clean energy economy

For Immediate Release

July 25, 2023

The Solar and Energy Loan Fund (SELF), America’s first local green bank and Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), announced today its launch of the “Southern+ Climate Equity Accelerator” (SCEA+) to help prepare a group of green lenders – including emerging green banks and CDFIs – for deployment of public and private funds that will catalyze the region’s transition to a clean energy economy with a focus on low-income communities.

“The Southern+ Climate Equity Accelerator’s goal is to help prepare and build the capacity of nascent green banks, CDFIs, and community-based organizations (CBOs), which are most able to nimbly confront the environmental, economic, and political challenges unique to their communities,” said David Graber, SELF’s Director of Green Affordable Housing, who helped launch the initiative. To achieve this goal, SELF will share its expertise gained since 2010 to facilitate members’ access to technical assistance, loan capital, turnkey products, credit enhancements, data, impact measurement tools, contractor development strategies, grants, and a workforce development fund.

The South has many of our nation’s most climate-vulnerable and energy-burdened communities. The region also lacks policies, programs, and capital providers to address these issues, which is what triggered the idea of the Accelerator.

“As the only established hybrid green bank and CDFI in the South, SELF has a responsibility to lead and share its experience with colleagues to help them meet the needs of communities throughout our region,” remarked Duanne Andrade, SELF’s Executive Director. “Our vision is for the Accelerator to pursue a more just and equitable transition to a clean energy economy.”

Although the Accelerator currently focuses on the South, participation is open to existing and emerging green banks, CDFIs, and other green community lenders across the country. Inaugural members include the Clean Energy Fund of Texas, Energy Alabama, Finance New Orleans, Freedmen Green Bank & Trust, Invest Atlanta, Nevada Clean Energy Fund, North Carolina Clean Energy Fund, and the South Carolina Clean Energy and Resilience Accelerator.

“The South is home to households with some of the highest energy burdens in the country,” said Jennifer Weiss, Co-Director of the North Carolina Clean Energy Fund. “The partnerships being formed through this initiative will bring much-needed financial resources and tools to the communities that need it the most.”

“Texas has generated more renewable energy than any other state for several years and our state is better for it, but unfortunately too many Texans have been left behind,” said Stephen Brown, Founder and Board Officer of the Clean Energy Fund of Texas. “Our participation will help to catalyze economic development and wealth creation in our state’s disadvantaged communities allowing everyone the opportunity to reap the benefits of this clean energy transition.”

“HBCUs and faith-based institutions have been the bedrock to LMI communities in the South for well over a century,” remarked Dr. Reginald Parker, Founding Principal of the Freedmen Green Bank & Trust, an emerging green bank focused on communities near HBCUs. “By leveraging the relationships, support, and knowledge that SELF is providing through this initiative, these communities and their institutions can be strengthened through environmental and economic development.”

JPMorgan Chase committed $2 million to support the roll-out of the Southern Climate Equity Accelerator, which aims to raise millions more in private and public capital to build an ecosystem of community-based organizations that will support an inclusive transition to a clean energy economy. SELF welcomes investors and philanthropic funders with an interest in climate equity to participate in advancing the Accelerator’s goals.

Since 2010, SELF has financed over 3,400 sustainable and climate-resilient property improvements, and created over $40 million of green economic development activity, leveraging over $100 million in total projects.

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About SELF:

The Solar and Energy Loan Fund (SELF) is a nonprofit green bank – CDFI that finances sustainable property improvements. Through innovative and equitable financing solutions, SELF empowers homeowners, contractors, landlords, and affordable housing developers to implement energy-efficient, climate-resilient, and renewable energy projects, ultimately reducing carbon emissions and creating green jobs and a more equitable and sustainable future. For more information, visit

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Mike Kennedy
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