A Community Resiliency Hub in Baltimore, Maryland, will soon have a major impact on the Central Park Heights community surrounding Empowerment Temple AME in Church. The 10,000-member church actively seeks out new ways to serve its neighbors, building on more than 20 years of community service, including providing free meals, school supplies, and drive-thru COVID-19 tests during the COVID pandemic.
The Community Resiliency Hub at Empowerment Temple is powered by a 127 kW solar installation connected to 372 kWh of battery. This location was selected for its ability to provide 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 Empowerment Temple’s ongoing service and outreach efforts within the community. This Resiliency Hub is possible thanks to the committed leadership at Empowerment Temple AME and Groundswell, in partnership with the City of Baltimore 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 combination of a grant from the Maryland Energy Administration and financing provided by Sunlight General Capital — a woman-owned solar investment firm. 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 A.F Mensah — a minority-led solar battery storage company. The Economic Empowerment Coalition (TEEC) — a nonprofit Community Development Corporation connected to the church — served as a local partner for this project. TEEC implements community economic development projects with a focus on the Park Heights area of Baltimore.
Groundswell also worked with the church’s leadership to install a Smartflower™ in 2020. The Smartflower solar installation provides energy savings to the church, enabling additional community service and outreach.