Yesterday, Microsoft announced a major investment in solar energy with an unprecedented step in its focus on “under-resourced communities, working with local leaders and prioritizing minority and women-owned business.” This is among the early signals of a new movement that is about to grow).
What you do is who you are. I believe that is particularly true in this moment. We lament the murders of Rayshard Brooks, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Ahmaud Arbery. We cry out together in solidarity for restorative justice. But what are we going to do, individually and corporately, to dismantle more than four hundred years of systems upon systems that have deeply institutionalized racism in this country? We can say that black lives matter, but until black lives matter is true of the lived experience of every American, there’s urgent work to do.
This year, the Discalced Carmelite Friars of Washington, D.C., and Groundswell will continue to follow Jesus’ call to love our neighbors through the benefits created by the recently energized solar project at the Monastery of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.
Today is Giving Tuesday, and as millions of Americans donate to their favorite NGO’s, we want to re-introduce how Groundswell is using our Share Power™ Community Solar program to bring affordable clean energy to people across the district and show how you can join us.
On a clear, sunny weekend in mid-September, our community partners at Faith in Place hosted the fourth annual Green Team Summit at Chicago’s Field Museum. People from across Illinois joined together for an energizing exchange of knowledge, questions, and ideas around how to promote environmental stewardship within organizations, engaging in a series of workshops focused on action within communities of faith.
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.
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.