If youâre a low-income resident of California with a new solar panel on your apartment-building roof and extra money in your pocket, you might have Chanel to thank.
Thatâs because the French luxury label thatâs the go-to for celebrities around the world (including Tilda Swinton at the recent Venice Film Festival and Shira Haas and Julia Garner at Sunday nightâs Emmy Awards) announced Wednesday that it is investing $35 million with San Francisco-based Sunrun, the largest rooftop solar installer in the U.S., aimed at bringing solar power to 100 multifamily properties across the Golden State.
âThat will be for about 30,000 low-income residents,â said Lynn Jurich, Sunrunâs cofounder and chief executive. âTheyâll get solar panels on their rooftops that will essentially save them about $50 per month on their electric power. Most of their electricity will be free for the 20-plus years.â
The solar-meets-high-style partnership may sound like an odd pairing, but according to John Galantic, Chanel Inc.’s president and chief operating officer, itâs part of Chanelâs larger effort to combat climate change outside its core business.
âThe impacts of climate change are already upon us,â he wrote in an email to The Times. âWhile we need to take action within our own business activities to reduce emissions, we also believe in going beyond our own footprint to support communities and natural ecosystems that are already affected by climate change.â
He said Sunrunâs track record in the solar space â as well as its chief executive â convinced him that the company was the right one to help expeditiously further that goal. âWhen we met Lynn Jurich, CEO of Sunrun, we knew we had found our partner,â Galantic said. âWhen Lynn says, âLetâs get this done,â she means it.â
Jurich said Chanelâs several-year investment is helping to finance the installation of solar panels on apartment buildings that will eventually provide solar power to an estimated 10,000 households that wouldnât necessarily have the option because theyâre multifamily dwellings. (By comparison, an individual homeowner installing a solar system would invest around $15,000 before rebates and tax credits.)
Chanel is also funding 20,000 hours of solar-panel installation job training in the first year of the partnership.
Although the relationship between Chanel and Sunrun only came to fruition late last year, 21 of the 100 Chanel-financed installations have already been completed across the Golden State.
Although Chanel memorably sent models down the spring and summer 2013 runway in solar-panel dresses, donât expect to see the solar panels emblazoned with the Chanel double-C logo any time soon.
Although Jurich laughed heartily at the notion of Chanel-branded solar panels, she said a luxury branding play in the solar space isnât exactly as absurd as it might sound.
âI think [solar panels] will become a status symbol,â she said. âLook at whatâs happened in Japan where some people even put up fake solar panels because itâs fashionable.â