Equity-Focused Installation Is First of Its Kind in Montgomery County

 

Media contact: Tom Deyo, Montgomery County Green Bank Chief Executive Officer, at tdeyo@mcgreenbank.org

Montgomery County, MD, August 19, 2021 — On August 17, Montgomery County’s first community solar project to include a set aside for low- and moderate-income (LMI) households was celebrated at a ground-breaking at Paddington Square Apartments, the host property for the solar array project. Conventional solar projects often include financial barriers around credit and long-term contracts that can limit solar access to many. The Community Solar at Paddington Square project breaks down all the barriers.

And, this community solar project will reduce green house gas emissions by 235 metric tons per year, which is equivalent to removing 51 cars from the road each year.

This community solar project is part of Maryland’s community solar pilot program, which includes dedicated solar capacity for projects that serve LMI residents.  The Community Solar at Paddington Square project will offer 91 subscriptions to local households who want to be a part of an equitable clean energy future for Montgomery County with 28 of these subscriptions set aside for low- and moderate-income households. Any Maryland resident who receives a Pepco utility bill can sign up, and everyone who subscribes will receive a monthly credit on their Pepco bill

“The Paddington Square community solar project aligns with the County’s efforts to combat climate change and eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2035,” said County Executive Marc Elrich.  “I applaud the project’s attention to members in our community who are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and I am appreciative of the hard work of the project partners to bring this project into fruition.”

This project is an effort of many players. The Housing Opportunities Commission is hosting the solar array on its Paddington Square property.  Groundswell was the project’s developer and uses the nonprofit’s innovative SharePowerTM model to support the lower income earning households.  SunLight General Capital and the Montgomery County Green Bank, a county-designated nonprofit to advance clean energy finance in the county, are financing the equity-focused project.  SunCatch Energy will construct the community solar array.

“We are excited to see this equitable community solar project come online to offer the opportunity for all residents to have access to renewable energy,” said Tom Deyo, CEO of the Montgomery County Green Bank.  “The collaboration with Pepco, the County, and the project partners has made this effort possible to deliver benefits to County residents and to support the County’s drive to meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals.”

By using Groundswell’s innovative SharePowerTM model, the Community Solar at Paddington Square project equitably expands solar access by putting income-qualified households first to receive solar savings. As a result, the 28 “Empowered” households can enroll to SharePowerTM and receive a no-cost community solar subscription to cut their electricity bill in half.

“Solar energy is abundant, and community solar is a perfect way to equitably share power and savings with our neighbors,” commented Groundswell CEO Michelle Moore.

“Our commitment to helping people reach their fullest potential is centered around the supports that put families in a position to thrive,” said HOC Acting Executive Director Kayrine Brown. “Access to clean, renewable energy alternatives ensures that all households in our community, irrespective of income, can achieve utility savings while positively contributing to the environment around them. HOC is incredibly proud of the partnership that brought this to bear and we look forward to more collaborative opportunities around solar energy in the future.”

About the Montgomery County Green Bank:  The Montgomery County Green Bank is an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to helping businesses and residents affordably implement energy efficiency and clean energy solutions. The Green Bank supports the county by driving investment into energy efficiency and clean energy through lending and investment partners in the region. These efforts include working with homeowners, renters, and commercial entities of all varieties. For more information, visit www.mcgreenbank.org.

About Groundswell:  Groundswell is a 501c3 nonprofit that builds community power through equitable community solar projects and resilience centers, clean energy programs that reduce energy burdens, and pioneering research initiatives that help light the way to clean energy futures for all. Groundswell leads clean energy programs and projects in six states including the District of Columbia, including serving more than 4,000 income-qualified customers with more than $1.85 million per year in clean energy savings. Learn more at Groundswell.org or @grndswell.

About the Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County (HOC): The Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County provides affordable housing and supportive services that enhance the lives of low- and moderate-income families and individuals. HOC is a property owner and operator, and a vertically-integrated developer, focusing on three things: getting people housed, keeping people housed, and helping customers reach their fullest potential. HOC serves more than 15,000 Montgomery County residents, owns more than 8,000 rental units, and provides assistance to more than 7,000 low-income households – many of whom are seniors and persons with disabilities – through the Housing Choice Voucher program. For more information visit www.hocmc.org.