Groundswell Launches Two Landmark DC Solar for All Community Solar Projects at Dupont Park Seventh Day Adventist Church in Historic Ward

The community solar project will serve 47 families and result in an estimated $23,500 per year in utility bill savings


WASHINGTON, D.C. - Groundswell, a local non-profit community solar developer, broke ground today on two landmark solar projects totaling 168kW of capacity at the 100-year-old DuPont Park Seventh Day Adventist Church located in DC’s historic Ward 7 neighborhood. The planned church roof installation is 43 kW, and the planned canopy will be 125 kW, which will be installed in an adjacent parking area.

The solar project will deliver 100% of the electricity it generates to 47 low-income families in the community at no cost as 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 $23,500 per year, or $470,000 over the 20-year life of the project. The project is expected to be completed and delivering electricity to families by mid-2019.

Dupont Park Seventh Day Adventist Church sees its role as community solar host as both in line with their commitment to serve the community with compassion, excellence and integrity and as an opportunity to positively impact the surrounding neighborhood.

“We are happy to partner as the faith community representative in this collaborative effort to positively impact the quality of life of District of Columbia citizens living in the 7th Ward with renewable energy,” said Senior Pastor Marcus Harris. “Helping to provide households who otherwise might not be able to take advantage of the benefits and cost savings of solar power aligns with our congregation’s missional focus on serving our community. We applaud the visionary leadership of our city and Groundswell for courageously moving forward with this project whose time has come.”

Community solar, which enables anyone who pays a utility bill – whether they rent or own – to “subscribe” to locally-produced solar electricity, is a new model for solar that is rapidly gaining traction nationwide. Construction funding for the project was provided through DC’s Solar for All program. As a result, 100% of the electricity produced by the project will be delivered to low-income households in the District of Columbia at no cost for 20 years.

“Groundswell’s Solar for All project is particularly exciting as we continue to navigate the barriers to solar deployment by advancing innovative solutions, like community solar,” said Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) Director Tommy Wells.

The solar project’s construction was led by SunCatch, a local minority-owned business founded by Brad Boston. A fourth-generation electrical contractor with more than 20 years of experience in the solar industry, Boston is dedicated to creating opportunities for workforce development, and will be delivering a training workshop for local community members interested in the solar industry as part of the project’s construction. “If you are willing to learn, work hard, and have a good work ethic, you can learn this trade and be successful,” said Boston. “You have to get out where the money is, and solar has that opportunity.”

The Dupont Park Seventh Day Adventist community solar project is the first of many DC-based community solar projects led by Groundswell. Founded and headquartered in the District of Columbia, Groundswell focuses on delivering community solar projects that connect solar power with economic empowerment for the surrounding neighborhood – including delivering utility bill savings to those who need it most, to workforce development, to partnering with local minority-owned businesses.

“It is truly an honor for my family and I to give back to the church and community in a manner that will be felt for years to come, thanks in part to the mayor’s Solar For All initiative. It is my hope that, through their leadership in this program, the Dupont Park Seventh Day Adventist Church will inspire other faith-based organizations to take the same approach of service with their members and communities to positively impact our neighbors in DC who need it the most,“ said Lenwood Coleman, Groundswell’s Vice President of Solar Development, who grew up in the Dupont Park neighborhood, attends the church, and is a current resident of DC Ward 7.

“Solar power can do more than deliver clean electricity, it can empower communities,” added Michelle Moore, CEO of Groundswell. “We believe solar can be a “Made in DC” industry that helps local families, businesses, and neighborhoods to thrive. The District of Columbia is Groundswell’s hometown, and we’re proud to be working right here to show how it’s done.”

To learn more about this and other Groundswell projects visit www.groundswell.org

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MEDIA CONTACT
Becca Eiland | 404.550.7287 | becca.eiland@groundswell.org
Michael Matthews | 202.536.7666 | michael.matthews@dc.gov

ABOUT GROUNDSWELL
Groundswell is a 501c3 nonprofit that builds community power. Groundswell develops community solar projects and subscriber management programs that connect solar power with economic empowerment, enabling neighbors to work together to Share PowerTM and substantial energy savings with low-income households. Groundswell believes that clean energy is a necessity, not a luxury; we’re all in this together; and we can’t afford to leave our neighbors behind.


ABOUT SOLAR FOR ALL
Solar for All, a program of the District of Columbia’s Department of Energy and Environment, seeks to provide the benefits of solar electricity to 100,000 low-income households and reduce their energy bills by 50% by 2032. The program, which was established by the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) Expansion Amendment Act of 2016, is funded by the Renewable Energy Development Fund (REDF). For more information about Solar for All visit: http://doee.dc.gov/solarforall