Site Host The Empowerment Temple

Projected Capacity 350 kW

Total Number of Households Served 116

Resilience Incorporates solar storage for community resilience

Estimated Delivery Late 2019

Connecting solar to resilience and economic development

The Empowerment Temple in collaboration with The Economic Empowerment Coalition

Groundswell is partnering with The Empowerment Temple  to bring behind the meter savings to the Park Heights area in Baltimore City. The Empowerment Temple Church is a 10,000 member AME Church in Baltimore, Maryland.

The church is led by Pastor George J. Barnes. Pastor Barnes has served as president and CEO for multiple national multi-million-dollar organizations. He has been featured on Fox, CBS, ABC, and MPT for his leadership skills and business acumen. Pastor Barnes also saw a need for a cutting-edge faith-based learning organization in Baltimore, which led to him founding the Empowerment My Life Institute. He is a published expert in closing the academic achievement gap between black and white communities. 

The Empowerment Temple was selected by the City of Baltimore to be a Resilience Hub, or a facility that delivers enhanced support to residents and coordinates resources before, during, and after disasters. This includes housing supplies, energy storage, and communications services year-round to empower and revitalize communities. Groundswell is working with Baltimore’s Office of Sustainability and other partners to pair energy storage with solar energy. This effort will improve the resilience of the church and the surrounding community.

Groundswell’s local partner in this project is The Economic Empowerment Coalition (TEEC). TEEC is a nonprofit Community Development Corporation (CDC) led by Anthony Robinson working with Brother Mike Simmons, which is connected to the church. TEEC implements community economic development projects with a focus in the Park Heights area of Baltimore. Through TEEC’s leadership, more than 20 Empowerment “Green Champions” have been trained, and Brother Mike has been recognized as a LEED Accredited Professional.

This project began as a community solar project, and the partners initially planned to construct a parking canopy solar system. During the design and engineering process, serious challenges were discovered, preventing the installation of the canopy system. As a result, Groundswell worked with the church’s leadership to pivot to install a Smartflower™, a rooftop solar installation, and energy storage. This combination of projects delivers the benefits of solar energy to the community while working with the available space. These solar installations will provide energy savings to the church, which will enable more community outreach, continued education, and training.

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