Since 2012, the DCSEU has worked with District contractors to install hundreds of solar PV systems on homes and buildings in the community. Working with District contractors, the DCSEU has installed solar PV systems on more than 750 income-qualified District families' homes since 2012. Each of these systems reduces household electricity bills by about 50% and reduces carbon emissions by nearly 3 tons per year. Here are ten stories of customers and contractors we've worked with over the years:
1. Children of Mine Youth Center – 2012
When solar panels began to go up on houses in Wards 7 and 8, including many Habitat for Humanity homes, Mrs. Hannah Hawkins, Founder and Director of the Children of Mine Youth Center, Inc., a nonprofit after-school program dedicated to providing a safe space for children, became interested. After talking to Mark Davis, President of WDC Solar, about the possibility of installing panels on the Youth Center, Mr. Davis saw an opportunity to both showcase his company’s work and invest in his community.
2. National Housing Trust/Enterprise Preservation Corporation (NHT/Enterprise) – 2014 - 2016
In 2014, the DCSEU worked with NHT/Enterprise to install PV systems across 11 of NHT’s multifamily affordable buildings. The systems reduced operating expenses by over $27,500 per year, saved 1,500 Mcf per year, and offset more than 100,000 kWh from the electrical utility grid.
In 2015, through the NHT Renewable initiative the DCSEU installed solar thermal and PV arrays on all NHT’s properties in the District. One of the properties included the Monsenor Romero Apartments, who started housing residents for the first time that year after the property suffered a devastating fire in 2008.
3. Southern Homes and Gardens Cooperative Community – 2014
55 of 90 households received solar PV installations through the DCSEU’s Low-Income Solar Photovoltaic Initiative in 2014. Telana Felder, the onsite manager and a shareholder at the cooperative was able to reduce her annual costs by nearly $340 thanks to the solar PV system installed on her home. As the savings continue to add up, Ms. Felder is expected to save as much as $9,700 over the life of the system.
4. Christopher Stewart – 2016
Fourth generation Washingtonian, Christopher Stewart purchased his home in Anacostia when he was in his early twenties with the goal of being in an environment where he could give back. Through the DCSEU’s Affordable Solar Program, Stewart and his wife worked with Solar Solutions and received a 2.34 kW solar PV system. The system installed on his home offset his energy costs by about $500 per year. “The savings will mostly likely go for additional funds for college for my girls. And possibly being able to continue to serve the community.”
Right Proper Brewing Company has been working with the DCSEU since 2017 to increase efficiency at their locations. In 2018 they built a solar canopy that helps them obtain 99% of their electricity from solar during the the summer months.
Barbara became familiar with the DCSEU in 2016 through the Affordable Solar program. Though the program was discontinued, Barbara did not give up on her dream to install solar on her roof. By working with the DCSEU and Greenscape Environmental Services, Barbara was able to receive a free solar installation through Solar for All, a DOEE program. Now that solar has been installed in her home Barbara has been excited about being on the cutting edge of DC’s efforts to become a more sustainable and greener city.
Woodmont Crossing is a housing apartment complex owned by NHP Properties located in Southeast DC, one of multiple affordable housing devleopments managed by NHP. Through Solar for All, the DCSEU partnered with NEO, a local solar developer, to install solar PV systems on five roofs throughout the complex. The entire electrical output from the solar panels is being used to provide credits on Pepco bills to DOEE-designated income qualified households. Residents in Woodmont were given the opportunity to apply for credits through DOEE and were given priority access to the credits from the project.
Elliot Lyles, Director of Business Development for Solar Solution, is a multigeneration Washingtonian. Although he was raised in Maryland, both of his parents were born in the District and his grandparents were from a community called River Terrace. Through Solar for All, Elliott had a chance to install solar energy at River Terrace, a neighborhood comprising about 500 homes in Southeast DC. He found it rewarding to meet people who knew his grandparents. "I heard stories such as people seeing me mow the law when I was a kid around the neighborhood, so that was really cool," said Lyles.
Monina first learned about the DCSEU’s Solar for All program through her neighbor Carolyn Matthews, a member of the District’s Commision on Aging in Ward 1. Through the Single-Family Solar for All program, Monina learned that she could have solar installed on her roof at no cost and with no financial obligation. Following the lead of other neighbors, Monina went through the process of qualifying for the program and was connected with GRID Alternatives Mid-Atlantic as her solar contractor. An extra incentive for Monina was having a former neighbor, who was employed by the company at the time, as an installer.
10. New Columbia Solar, SaveSolar and Standard Companies - 2020
As a part of the DCSEU’s Solar for All CREF Program, New Columbia Solar partnered with SaveSolar and property owner Standard Companies to equip Fort Chaplin Park Apartments with a community solar installation spanning 45 buildings and supplying 1.5 million kWh of energy annually. The project is one of the largest community solar projects in the District, and Standard Companies was able to install a new roof and provide solar savings to their residents, all with no up-front costs.