Microsoft, Kimbal Musk, NBA’s Russell Westbrook invest in Brooklyn-based climate tech company BlocPower

BlocPower is electrifying this Brooklyn, NY building
Lisa Rizzolo | CNBC

BlocPower, a Brooklyn-based climate tech company, has closed on a nearly $155 million fundraising round that will be used to expand and finance community decarbonization projects like it already has undertaken in Menlo Park, California, and Ithaca, New York.

The round, which includes more than $24 million in Series B funding, was led by VoLo Earth Ventures. Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund, Credit Suisse, New York State Ventures, Kimbal and Christina Musk, and NBA player Russell Westbrook also were part of this equity round. The company also raised $130 million of debt financing led by Goldman Sachs, bringing BlocPower’s total capital raised to-date to more than $250 million.

“We are fighting the climate crises while improving quality of life for city residents,” BlocPower CEO and founder Donnel Baird said in a statement, noting that the funding will “allow us to accelerate building decarbonization across America.”

BlocPower, a two-time CNBC Disruptor 50 company, has focused on improving the energy consumption and efficiency issues that many of the old buildings in the U.S. face. The company works with cities to build and retrofit existing real estate around renewable energy and energy efficiency concepts and technology, focusing on areas like heating and cooling systems.

Perhaps BlocPower’s most high-profile project to date is taking place in Ithaca, where it is helping the New York college town become the first net-zero municipality in the U.S. Ithaca’s plan covers electrification projects for 1,000 residential buildings and 600 commercial buildings in the first phase of a total 6,000 building inventory.

Menlo Park, the Silicon Valley hub home to companies like Meta, is also undergoing its own effort to reach a 2030 climate goal of carbon neutrality, which includes electrifying thousands of its buildings to reduce fossil fuel use with help from BlocPower. It includes the installation of heat pumps for air cooling and heating, heat pumps for water, electric vehicle charging stations, and solar power and battery storage.

Building direct energy and electricity use, like the power used for water and space heating and lighting, comprise roughly 38% of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., according to the U.S. Green Building Council. That makes retrofitting an even more important task to reduce that impact, as the majority of buildings that will make up urban environments through 2030 already exist.

BlocPower is also helping to increase the number of green-energy workers, with the company’s Civilian Climate Corps effort being awarded a two-year, $108 million contract from New York City last year to train 3,000 city residents for clean energy jobs. This latest funding round will also broaden that workforce initiative, further focusing on training and hiring at-risk individuals in vulnerable communities.

Since its founding in 2014, BlocPower says it has completed energy projects in more than 5,000 households, commercial buildings and houses of worship.