Slater seeks $3M from state for new energy venture fund

The Slater Technology Fund is seeking $3 million from the state Renewable Energy Fund to seed a new $8 million investment vehicle for Rhode Island early-stage energy companies. More

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Slater seeks $3M from state for new energy venture fund

PBN FILE PHOTO/TRACY JENKINS
STEVE EAVES and his digital electricity company, VoltServer, are the kinds of businesses that the new investment fund the Slater Technology Fund is looking to create will invest in.
PBN FILE PHOTO/BRIAN MCDONALD
WITH A NEW INVESTMENT VEHICLE, the Slater Technology Fund is hoping to push forward Rhode Island's renewable energy sector, one piece of which is the solar energy industry, including this solar array in East Providence.
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Posted 8/25/14

PROVIDENCE - The Slater Technology Fund is seeking $3 million from the state Renewable Energy Fund to seed a new $8 million investment vehicle for Rhode Island early-stage energy companies.

William J. Ash, managing director financial services of the R.I. Commerce Corporation, briefed the corporations’s board of directors Monday night on the proposal, which Slater Managing Director Thorne Sparkman had introduced to a subcommittee earlier in the summer.

The board did not vote on the plan and directed Slater to go back to the Access to Capital Subcommittee to work out details of a limited partnership agreement. The subcommittee is expected to make a recommendation at its Sept. 11 meeting.

Ash said the new fund would be separate from Slater’s existing fund. The nonprofit venture capital firm, originally created by the state, is raising money from new investors to launch it.

The new fund would have a 10-year term, according to Ash, but it could be extended.

Also at Monday’s meeting, the Commerce Board approved a $314,000 round of Renewable Energy Fund grants to 44 small-scale solar projects.

The projects are being undertaken by nine different solar installers and would produce 266 kilowatts of electrical capacity.

The Board also approved the use of $50,000 of funds controlled by the R.I. Office of Energy Resources to start a new $250,000 pilot small-scale solar program called Solarize.

The pilot will operate in three towns, North Smithfield, Little Compton and Tiverton, and involve a $50,000 match from nonprofit Smart Power, which will market it.

The remaining $200,000 will go to funding a yet-undetermined incentive program.

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