Groundswell’s drive to unlock access to solar electricity for D.C.’s working families just won a high-profile fan: the Department of Energy.  We just got word that we’ve been selected for DOE's SunShot Initiative Solar in Your Community Challenge, a $5 million prize competition that aims to expand solar access.

A few things stand out about Groundswell’s projects, including our unwavering focus on bridging the solar gap for working families and working communities in D.C. With some targeted innovation, these neighborhoods are poised to capitalize on a growing clean energy market that can bring them lower energy bills, new job opportunities and community-based clean power for their homes and businesses.

Groundswell is partnering with leaders and stakeholders in these D.C. communities to address two challenges shared by cities and towns throughout the U.S.: how do you get access to solar if you don’t own your roof, or can’t afford the installation? And how do you build solar projects – that need land or a very large rooftop to make economic sense -- in a city where land is scarce and buildings are small?

Our answer is bundling together smaller community solar projects hosted by local houses of worship or other mission-aligned groups and organizations that can add up to provide locally-generated, affordable clean energy for hundreds of households, and a worthwhile investment for a solar investor. And crucially, we’re designing these projects to make sure that folks who sign up to get their energy from a local community solar installation don’t need to meet any credit score requirements – a key barrier to solar for millions of working families.