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NR 2011-89
Contact: Bryan Hubbard
(202) 874-5770

OCC Newsletter Focuses on National Bank Investments in Solar Energy

WASHINGTON — The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) today published an online newsletter that provides a guide for national banks seeking to invest in solar energy projects under the national bank public welfare investment authority.

The on-line newsletter describes how banks have used the public welfare investment authority to invest in funds and other financing vehicles that are structured to pass-through the benefit from the energy investment tax credit to entities such as schools, universities, hospitals, and Federally- subsidized rental housing developments.

“By serving as investors in solar facilities developed in conjunction with community and economic development projects, national banks are able to help to reduce project costs and enable public and not-for-profit organizations lower their electricity expenses,” said Acting Comptroller of the Currency John Walsh.  “In some cases, investments in solar energy facilities can help banks meet their Community Reinvestment Act objectives, for example, by reducing energy costs in affordable housing developments.”

The on-line newsletter provides links to the OCC’s Fact Sheet on Solar Energy Investment Tax Credits and Grants, precedent letters regarding public welfare investments in solar energy funds, and guidance on when such investments may be eligible for positive consideration under the Community Reinvestment Act.

This Community Developments Investments newsletter, “Investing in Solar Energy Using the Public Welfare Investment Authority,” can be accessed on the OCC’s Web site at: www.occ.gov/static/community-affairs/community-developments-investments/solar11/2011-solar-cdezine-final.pdf.

National Banks interested in learning more about these opportunities may contact the OCC’s District Community Affairs Officers (DCAOs) located throughout the nation.  Their contact information is available at: www.occ.gov/topics/community-affairs/contacts.html.

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