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Sustainable Power Developer Uses CDFI Loan to Install Fuel Cell for Connecticut Building Complex

Client: NuPower Cherry Street Fuel Cell, LLC

Client Location: Bridgeport, CT

CDFI: Capital for Change

CDFI Service Area: CT

CDFI Services Provided: Financing, with support from the OFN Renewable and Energy Efficiency Financing Grant Program

Financial and Social Impact

  • Equivalent of 209,000 gallons of gasoline saved (the equivalent of taking 404 passenger vehicles off the road for a year)

  • Low-income residents living in the building complex benefit from electricity that is priced lower than prevailing utility company rates

  • Energy savings for charter school

NuPower Cherry Street Fuel Cell, LLC wanted to install a fuel cell to provide reliable electrical power for a recently constructed charter school and affordable housing building complex in Bridgeport, CT. However, they had trouble securing necessary financing from mainstream financial institutions. Banks lacked institutional knowledge about fuel cell technology and considered the requested loan size smaller than their desire to underwrite.

Having assisted NuPower during earlier negotiations, Capital for Change (C4C) stepped in to successfully finance the fuel cell and later provide a line of credit loan. During its first nine months of production, the fuel cell saved the equivalent of 209,000 gallons of gasoline — the equivalent of taking 404 passenger vehicles off the road for an entire year. In addition, the electricity generated by the fuel cell is priced lower than the prevailing utility company rate, benefiting the low-income residents of the LIHTC apartments in the complex. Also, the nonprofit charter school is able to save on heating costs by utilizing surplus heat from the fuel cell.

“C4C truly shared our vision of the possible: providing clean affordable energy to our economically challenged tenants. Simply put, C4C helped make our project the success it is today,” said NuPower LLC’s Daniel Donovan.

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