WASHINGTON, D.C. — In February, Groundswell and St. Luke Baptist Church took a step forward in fulfilling both groups’ mission to serve the community through the energization of this Groundswell community solar project. 

Through the partnership, Groundswell is connecting leadership within the church to additional resources like the DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU), which provided additional energy efficiency support to the Church by replacing an aging heating and air conditioning system at no cost.

“Through the program, we were introduced to other programs that were sponsored by the District government, and they’ve been very beneficial to us,” said the Rev. Aubrey Lewis, who leads St. Luke Baptist Church.

Funded through the DC Solar for All initiative, a program of the District of Columbia’s Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE), the community solar array at St. Luke Baptist Church includes a 55 kW roof installation that delivers 100 percent of the electricity it generates to 15 income-qualified households in the community at no cost, cutting each family’s utility bill in half.  Lower utility bills means more of each family’s budget is available to pay for groceries, medicine, and other necessities.

“Each family this project serves is cutting their electricity bill in half,” said Lenwood Coleman, Groundswell’s Vice President of Solar Development and Operations. “At the same time, the Church is receiving an annual solar lease payment while enjoying lower utility bills and a new, high-efficiency heating a cooling system.”

The Rev. Lewis said that he is glad this project will help the church to continue to serve their community, the same purpose that it has held since it was founded in 1879.

“That was our purpose as a church initially, from the beginning, 141 years ago, so we are happy that we can go beyond the walls of our church to impact the community,” the Rev. Lewis said. “We’re doing it in a very small way, but what we are contributing hopefully will give benefit to the ones who we are serving.”

St. Luke Baptist Church is located in Ward 4 of the District of Columbia. Click here to learn more about community solar.