Prince Secretly Funded Green Energy Tech Incubator Before His Death

The musician made anonymous donations to help fund 43 solar power companies.

June 6, 2017 12:31 pm

Aside from his legendary music, Prince left behind a secret legacy in the solar energy industry.

Through a quiet donation from the iconic musician, a tech incubator was created that’s now helping green energy start-ups survive amid expected cuts to Department of Energy funding.

Bloomberg reports that Prince gave his friend Van Jones, a CNN commentator and former clean energy adviser to President Obama, a grant of $250,000 to start Powerhouse. A for-profit incubator focused on solar energy, firm has backed 43 start-ups to date.

SolarCity Corp. employees install solar panels on the roof of a home in Kendall Park, New Jersey, U.S., on Tuesday, July 28, 2015. (Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The grant stemmed from a 2011 conversation with Jones in which Prince was exploring ways to invest. Jones’ wife recommended putting solar panels all over Oakland, California.

Prince gave the money to Jones, asking the donation be kept anonymous.

Powerhouse came out at a time when funding for clean energy companies started to slow down, Bloomberg reports.

Prince’s incubator has helped make its home in Oakland, a hub for clean energy.

Thirteen companies and six industry organizations are located near its offices. It’s backed start-ups like UtilityAPI, which offers energy data to solar and storage firms, and Hot 4 Solar, a company that finds neighborhoods that might benefit from rooftop solar panels.

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