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City of Refuge Baltimore, Main Campus

A Community Resiliency Hub in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland, will soon have a major impact on the surrounding community surrounding the City of Refuge Baltimore’s Main Campus. The solar and battery storage system at this Resiliency Hub will be owned by the nonprofit host organization, making it possible for 100% of the solar savings from the project to support the remarkable work of this organization. Leveraging the cost savings from the solar and battery project, the mission-driven team at City of Refuge’s Main Campus seeks to serve the whole person by hosting a life skills training area, daycare, and workforce development program, in addition to affordable housing units.

The Community Resiliency Hub at the City of Refuge will be powered by a 110 kW solar installation connected to 372 kWh of battery storage. This project is situated at a centralized, trusted community location where community members can access reliable power for their essential devices, continue to receive information as emergency situations develop, store medications sensitive to temperature, and safely gather in the aftermath of an emergency or severe weather event to allow the community to recover safely and effectively.

As the developer, Groundswell worked with community leaders to ensure that this Community Resiliency Hub could meet the greatest needs within the neighborhood while building on City of Refuge’s ongoing work in the midst of one of Baltimore’s most struggling and industrial neighborhoods where nearly 40% of the residents live below the Federal Poverty Level. This Community Resiliency Hub is possible thanks to the committed leadership at the City of Refuge Baltimore and Groundswell, in partnership with the City of Baltimore, Rochdale Capital, and the Maryland Energy Administration. This work is part of the Baltimore City Community Resiliency Hub Program.

This Community Resiliency Hub was funded through a grant from the Maryland Energy Administration, and Rochdale Capital provided additional financing. This work was made possible through ongoing support from the Baltimore Office of Sustainability. SunCatch Energy — a fourth-generation, Black-owned business with a track record of successful solar installations in the District and Maryland — will oversee engineering, procurement, and construction for this project with support from Dots Energy — a minority-led solar battery storage company.

The Wells Fargo Foundation has supported Groundswell's work to design and implement a financial model that leverages the Inflation Reduction Act's direct pay provision to deliver community ownership. The City of Refuge Resiliency Hub is the first of many community-owned projects that will be developed as a result of their support.