While the first Carmelites were hermits on Mt Carmel, the Discalced Carmelites owe their existence to St Teresa of Jesus of Avila, in sixteenth century Spain. She was inspired to found one house where the community would be few in number and all would be equal. She wanted the life style to be simple and prayerful. Her vision caught on. In her life time she founded 17 monasteries of women and was instrumental, with the collaboration of St John of the Cross, in the founding of the first two monasteries of friars. This is quite remarkable when you consider that women in her day were not taken seriously. She composed a number of works, now considered Classics of Spirituality, that were submitted to the Inquisition. She was deeply contemplative yet eminently practical as well.
With over 30 years of experience supporting teams, advising projects, and writing reports on urban sustainability; Julia Parzen is a thought leader in the field. Julia wrote for Groundswell about various Opportunity Zone initiatives that are bringing affordable solar energy to economically diverse communities across the country. We’re excited to share Julia’s comprehensive research on a few of the numerous economic incentives available to help inform the urban sustainability field nationally, and connect solar project developers looking to offer similar programs with the resources to do so.
As people around the world celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of Apollo 11, the team at Groundswell gathered to develop a strategic plan for our very own moonshot, the achievement of community power for all. Groundswell’s annual strategic planning meeting is a chance for our leadership and board members to take a step back from our daily work to consider how far Groundswell has come from our founding a decade ago, reaffirm our vision and goals, and plan for the future.
The DOE awarded Groundswell and its partners Elevate Energy, Southface, and Clean Energy Works funds for a research collaboration. The project, called Accelerating Low-Income Financing and Transactions for Solar Access Everywhere or “LIFT Solar Everywhere” will determine the optimal financing and program elements (customer experience factors) that community solar projects need to best serve every member of our communities, and especially our energy burdened neighbors. LIFT will use data from energy efficiency, solar and community solar programs nationwide to analyze how best to serve low-income families.
While I wear many hats as Manager of Business Operations and HR for Groundswell, one role that I am particularly passionate about is centered around Groundswell’s commitment to creating, and maintaining, a culture for our staff that is both inclusive and fosters a sense of belonging.
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.
Groundswell recently collaborated with the Solutions Project, a nonprofit that funds renewable energy projects that build public will and interest, to install a solar Smartflower at the LaGrange Housing Authority (LHA). A first of its kind in area, the Smartflower will produce energy that will help reduce the monthly utility bill of LHA’s administrative office. Those savings will then be earmarked to fund future, youth afterschool programming and education.
Thanks in part to Solar For All DC, a program of the Department of Energy and Environment, Groundswell broke ground 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.
Brad Boston, Suncatch Solar Construction owner and 4th generation electrical contractor, shares about his experience in electric and solar construction. With SunCatch, Brad makes Black Green History by advocating and facilitating opportunities for workforce development within the local community.