The Appalachian Solar Finance Fund (SFF) leverages robust regional partnerships to convene sector-specific expertise, combine data-based strategies with transformative and creative thinking, and connect with an extended network of anchor organizations, businesses and community leaders across the region.
Meet our team
Appalachian Voices (AV) leads the project and oversees the project team under the supervision of a Regional Director. An in-house project manager coordinates activities, facilitates the application process for fund deployment, and manages impact tracking and reporting.
Appalachian Voices is an economic development and environmental advocacy non-profit organization headquartered in Boone, North Carolina and with offices in Norton and Charlottesville, Virginia, and Knoxville, Tennessee. AV brings people together to protect the land, air, and water of Central and Southern Appalachia and advance a just transition to a generative and equitable clean energy economy. Adam Wells, AV’s Regional Director of Community and Economic Development, oversees the SFF from AV’s Norton, Virginia office. Mr. Wells has led several multi-state coalition efforts and is co-founder of the Solar Workgroup of Southwest Virginia. Autumn Long, SFF Project Manager, has five years of nonprofit management experience and an extensive professional background in renewable energy. Ms. Long is based in the New River Gorge region of West Virginia.
The Central Appalachian Network (CAN) Clean Energy Working Group (CEWG) provides core leadership and oversight to the SFF, including review of all SFF-financed project applications. CAN CEWG members collaborate on marketing efforts for the SFF and assist with regional impact data collection. The group provides a steering function in support of the SFF, with a funded role for each SFF Review Committee member. The SFF Review Committee convenes regularly to review proposals, coordinate outreach efforts and assess progress towards program goals.
The Central Appalachian Network includes more than 50 practitioner partner organizations that work collaboratively across sectors in over 150 counties in the Central Appalachian states of Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. CAN partners with community groups, funders, educational institutions, local governments and private businesses to actively pursue economic transition in Central Appalachian communities to make the region more resilient, inclusive and sustainable. CAN’s three sector-focused networks coordinate regional analysis and strategies in the areas of Clean Energy, Food & Ag and Creative Placemaking. The CAN CEWG builds strong peer networks that allow clean energy practitioners and advocates across the region to develop collective knowledge, analysis and tools. The SFF Review Committee consists of five individuals from CAN CEWG member organizations representing Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.
Partner Community Capital (PCAP, formerly Natural Capital Investment Fund) plays a central role in SFF program design and implementation.
Partner Community Capital is a small-business loan fund that supports entrepreneurs who are creating jobs and businesses in underserved communities in Central Appalachia and the Southeast. PCAP was founded as Natural Capital Investment Fund in 2000 as a supporting organization to The Conservation Fund, a national nonprofit organization with a dual mission of advancing conservation that makes economic sense. Hannah Vargason, PCAP Associate Director of Strategic Initiatives, devotes significant capacity to the SFF scope of work and brings great depth of experience and expertise in project finance to our team. Ms. Vargason has directed PCAP’s energy program since 2013, including the delivery of hands-on project development assistance and loan structuring.
A detailed plan for developing investment and credit enhancement strategies for the SFF is being established during the first year of program implementation. These finance tools are funded by Impact Investments, Program-Related Investments or other similar investments. Developing plans for this track of the SFF is a key engagement point for Invest Appalachia (IA). IA’s full set of capacities in support of this project includes refining deployment strategies, developing additional project pipeline and fundraising activities.
Invest Appalachia is a regional blended capital platform designed to accelerate and expand community investment across Central Appalachia. IA builds on the region’s existing strengths, working side-by-side with partners who are rooted in place and understand their community. IA CEO Andrew Crosson leverages a strong understanding of the role that blended capital plays in catalyzing opportunity in underinvested communities and relies on a high-capacity Investment Manager team at LOCUS Capital for financial analysis and investment due diligence.
Expert third-party due-diligence vetting is essential to ensure SFF-eligible projects are ready for investment. New Resource Solutions has established a consistent vetting process to ensure each project meets threshold criteria and has a high likelihood of success in generating the projected private sector investment. A vetting summary for each project is shared with the SFF Review Committee for final approval.
New Resource Solutions is simplifying solar finance for solar’s middle market. NRS was founded in 2016 by solar veterans frustrated with the status-quo of project finance. Its first product, Conductor Solar, targets third-party ownership projects (PPAs, leases) for private, public and nonprofit commercial entities. Conductor incorporates learnings and best practices from hundreds of commercial solar transactions with various developer, installer, and investor partners nationwide to accelerate deals. NRS co-founder and CEO Marc Palmer serves as the Financial Review Advisor (FRA) for the SFF. He has spent over a dozen years in the finance industry, including the past 10 years exclusively focused on renewable energy project finance.