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During Infrastructure Week, Mayor Bowser Highlights Progress in Expanding Access to Solar Projects Through DC Green Bank

Tuesday, May 17, 2022
DC Green Bank has committed more than $12 million to solar projects since its launch in 2018

(Washington, DC) Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser highlighted progress in expanding access to solar energy through DC Green Bank and announced that, since its launch in 2018, DC Green Bank has now committed more than $12 million to community and residential solar projects serving low-to-moderate income (LMI) residents in the District. DC Green Bank reached the $12 million milestone with two recent loan closings—including a $7 million deal that is the DC Green Bank’s largest. In addition to energy savings, the two deals will provide hundreds of District residents a fair shot through construction job opportunities. 

“We were proud to make DC one of the first cities in the nation to launch a Green Bank, and these projects which are helping us build a more sustainable and equitable DC are a good example of why we wanted to create a DC Green Bank,” said Mayor Bowser. “By bringing together DC Green Bank and DOEE’s Solar for All program, we’re lowering electric bills, reducing pollution, and creating jobs for DC residents.”

The $7 million deal with PosiGen will provide solar energy to low-to-moderate income (LMI) residents—at no cost to them—across approximately 320 residential projects, with the initial slate of installations coming to Wards 1, 4, 5, 7, and 8. A deal of more than $530,000 with Uprise Electric Company will deliver funds for community solar serving 15 residential projects under Solar for All, a program of the Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) administered by the DC Sustainable Energy Utility. 

The PosiGen loan agreement will unlock funding for the construction of up to 3,000 kW of solar capacity. The installations are expected to create hundreds of clean economy jobs in the construction phase. They will also generate more than 3,600 MWh of renewable energy annually, while avoiding more than 2,500 tons of CO2, which is equivalent to an average passenger vehicle driving more than 6 million miles annually.

Under the Uprise deal, more than a dozen LMI District families in the initial 15 projects will see their electricity bills cut by 50%. The deal is expected to create up to 13 clean economy jobs, generate more than 90 MWh of renewable energy, and avoid approximately 64 tons of CO2 equivalent annually – which is equivalent to an average passenger vehicle driving more than 160,000 miles. The Uprise deal couples DC Green Bank’s affordable financing with more than $100,000 from the Solar for All program, as well as an additional pool of capital that will be an incentive to deploy solar installations beyond the initial 15 projects. This is the third year in a row that DC Green Bank has provided financing to a DC-based solar developer to deliver community solar projects through Solar for All. 

“This is a huge win for the DC Green Bank and for the District as a whole,” said DOEE Director Tommy Wells. “Community solar is just one of the ways Mayor Bowser’s administration is working to secure a cleaner, greener future for the District, and we are so pleased to see these kinds of partnerships growing in the District.”

Mayor Bowser introduced legislation establishing the DC Green Bank in 2017 and the law was enacted in 2018 making the District the second city in the country to establish a Green Bank. This policy tool uses public purpose funding to attract private investment in order to expand renewable energy, lower energy costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create green jobs, and enhance resilience.

“We are proud to work with PosiGen and Uprise to expand access to solar and showcase why DC is leading the way on access to clean, renewable energy as well as prioritizing low to moderate income communities under Solar for All,” said DC Green Bank CEO Eli Hopson. “We cannot build a green and resilient future unless all District residents have access to the benefits, and we are putting up a substantial amount of our capital to demonstrate that this investment model works and delivers incredible results across the board.” 

Other recent solar announcements include:

  • $11.5 million in solar incentives that will serve 2,600 families. The DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU), in partnership with DOEE, announced $11.5 million in incentives through Solar for All—the largest amount since the program began—for solar developers and contractors to help provide solar on approximately 100 single-family homes and 40 community solar projects. This is enough solar capacity to serve 2,600 families. From 2019 to 2021, the DCSEU worked with developers and contractors to install solar on more than 325 single-family homes and 166 community solar installations, which will serve up to 6,000 income-qualified families for 15 years.
     
  • New program to help multi-family affordable housing meet new energy performance standards. DOEE announced the launch of the Affordable Housing Retrofit Accelerator, which will provide direct technical and financial assistance to multifamily affordable housing buildings so they can meet the compliance requirements of the nation’s first Building Energy Performance Standards. 
     
  • Celebrated FedEx community solar project. Today, on May 17, DOEE and DC Green Bank representatives participated in a FedEx announcement about special charitable arrangement under which a portion of electricity bill credits generated by the FedEx community solar project will be allocated to local nonprofit SOME (So Others Might Eat).

The DC Green Bank announcement is part of Mayor Bowser’s recognition of Infrastructure Week, when the Mayor is highlighting investments in infrastructure and initiatives focused on building a more connected, resilient, and equitable DC. In March, Mayor Bowser announced the creation of the DC Build Back Better Infrastructure Task Force, which will advise on priority projects to be funded through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The Task Force is made up of experts from District agencies and external partners who will ensure the District’s effectiveness in securing and deploying federal dollars while creating projects that will impact residents across the District and generations of Washingtonians to come.

 

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