Celebrations were in order as Groundswell kicked off its second community solar project in D.C. at the 100-year-old St. Luke Baptist church in Ward 4’s historic 16th Street Heights neighborhood. The 55 kW roof installation will deliver 100% of the electricity it generates to 15 low-income families in the community at no cost as a part of the District of Columbia’s Solar for All program, cutting each family’s utility bill in half. The resulting total utility bill savings for participating families is estimated at $6,700 per year and an estimated $140,000 over the 20-year life of the project. The project is expected to be completed and delivering electricity to families by early fall. 


There to help celebrate the occasion were members of St. Luke Baptist church, representatives from the Office of the People’s Council (OPC) and project funding partners from the District’s Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE). Representatives were also on hand from the Citi Foundation to recognize Groundswell’s role as a 2018-19 Community Progress Maker for their commitment to building stronger, more resilient communities for residents in the District. 


By partnering with faith-based organizations like St. Luke Baptist Church, Groundswell is building community power by brining clean energy to disinvested neighborhoods that are traditionally overlooked. Groundswell’s solar projects lend to the development of local jobs and economic growth in the communities they serve.


Groundswell partnered with SunCatch Energy, a local, 4th-generation minority-owned solar contracting business, to lead the construction at St. Luke because of their expertise and commitment to train minorities and returning citizens in the field of clean energy. SunCatch provides on-the-job training as well as assistance with additional education and industry certification for its employees in order to help them build the self-confidence and experience necessary to succeed.