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Daily CSR
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Empowering Washington, D.C.: Community Solar Initiative Delivers Clean Energy and Savings for Income-Qualified Households


Groundswell, in collaboration with Sargent Memorial Presbyterian Church, SunLight General Capital, Working Power, and the Office of the People's Counsel, celebrated the inauguration of the latest community solar array in Washington, D.C. This initiative, supported by the DC Department of Energy and Environment's Solar for All program, will extend free solar electricity to over 6,000 income-qualified households.
The new 222 kW solar array, situated at Sargent Memorial Presbyterian Church, will provide clean energy savings of up to $500 per year to 73 local households that meet the income requirements of DC Solar for All. Since its launch by Mayor Muriel Bowser in 2016, Solar for All has saved its 6,000 community solar subscribers over $5 million in addition to the savings offered by the program's rooftop solar option. The program aims to enhance energy affordability and advance environmental objectives in the District.
Affordability of energy bills is a significant concern for many households, with DOEE analysis indicating that 64% of low-income households in Metro DC face high energy burdens.
Groundswell CEO Michelle Moore expressed her appreciation, stating, "The DC Solar for All program exemplifies a national benchmark for building a clean energy future that prioritizes justice as a fundamental value. We are grateful to be headquartered in DC and to collaborate with purpose-driven partners in serving our community."
SFA solar arrays are distributed across the District, and Reverend Juan Guthrie of Sargent Memorial Presbyterian highlighted the church's decision to host the solar array as part of their ongoing commitment to the surrounding community. The congregation considers it a blessing to serve the community by harnessing the power of the sun through this endeavor.

"We are called by Christ to care for one another. Through this solar array, our congregation at Sargent Memorial is able to share God's gifts with our neighbors in the surrounding community," said Rev. Guthrie.
“Too often, the savings solar affords don't reach the people who need it most," said Erika Smith, SunLight General Capital's Director of Project Development and Operations.
"SunLight felt honored to work with Groundswell and its team to develop and finance an important project bringing savings and clean energy to the broader DC community."
"Sargent Memorial solar shows what real climate leadership looks like by demonstrating that clean energy can build wealth and broaden opportunity," said Bracken Hendricks, co-founder of Working Power and Urban Ingenuity. "This project is an inaugural investment of the Working Power Impact Fund, which generates dedicated income for community groups to fund their social and economic justice work nationally. We're honored to join with Groundswell, Sargent, and the rest of this powerful team of leaders."
“DOEE is committed to an equitable clean energy future. Programs like Solar for All help our residents stay in the District and thrive in their communities while actively participating in the city's clean energy transition,” said DC DOEE Economist/Senior Program Analyst, Dr. Lance Loncke.
"Energy equity is critical if our communities are to thrive; not every consumer has the resources or a home that allows them to have energy independence. Programs that aggregate energy resources provide basic benefits to many more consumers. It is our mission to bring together the experts, those who can host, and consumers who can share cooperatively in the energy created," said Sandra Mattavous-Frye, People's Counsel for the District of Columbia.
The solar industry is experiencing rapid growth in the United States, offering numerous career prospects within the communities it serves. Community solar installations, such as the one implemented at Sargent Memorial Presbyterian Church, have played a significant role in enhancing access to these employment opportunities.
"I was fortunate to grow up in a family of contractors, and my grandfather was always passionate about extending second chances to people. I have extended that practice into the way I do business, and I have seen these new opportunities change lives," said Brad Boston, SunCatch Energy Founder and President.
The project was constructed by Maryland Black-owned solar engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) firm, SunCatch Energy; was completed in partnership with the DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU), which manages construction for the Solar for All program in partnership with DOEE; was financed by SunLight General Capital, a woman-led clean energy investment firm; and was developed by Groundswell, a DC-based nonprofit.