(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, on the heels of Earth Day, Mayor Muriel Bowser celebrated the 100th installation under the Solar Works DC initiative by commissioning a rooftop solar installation at a home in Ward 6. In addition, earlier today, Mayor Bowser released Sustainable DC 2.0, the District’s updated citywide plan detailing actions and strategies for becoming the healthiest, greenest, and most livable city in the nation.
“As we fulfill our local responsibility to build a greener and more sustainable DC, Solar Works DC is a prime example of how we can take on climate change while also addressing income inequality,” said Mayor Bowser. “By investing in our solar and other green infrastructure, we are creating jobs, building a robust clean economy, and making good on our commitment to do more and do better for the environment.”
Solar Works DC is a clean energy program that installs solar panels on the homes of low- to moderate-income residents and is the job training program under the Department of Energy and Environment’s (DOEE) Solar for All program. Solar Works DC is operated in partnership with the Department of Employment Services (DOES) and seeks to prepare District residents to enter careers in solar and related industries. It is implemented by GRID Alternatives Mid-Atlantic, through a Solar for All grant. To-date, Solar Works DC has produced 96 total graduates, many of whom entered the local solar industry upon graduation.
Mayor Bowser’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget proposal includes $1.3 million for continuing Solar Works DC, $12 million for Solar for All, and $25 million for solar energy investments in District government property and community solar projects. These renewable energy investments and workforce development initiatives support the District’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) Expansion Amendment Act of 2016, which aims to provide the benefits of solar energy to 100,000 low-income households and to reduce their energy bills by 50 percent by 2032, through Solar for All. By the end of this fiscal year, the Solar for All program is projected to have developed approximately 17 megawatts of solar and to have served 10,000 households. In January, Mayor Bowser signed the Clean Energy DC Omnibus Amendment Act of 2018, which doubles the required amount of solar energy deployed in the District, sets a mandate of 100 percent renewable electricity by 2032, and commits DC to becoming carbon neutral by 2050.
The Sustainable DC 2.0 plan is the culmination of a 20-month community engagement process conducted by DOEE. More than 1,200 residents attended Sustainable DC 2.0 public meetings, 400 residents participated in a working group, and DOEE received nearly 900 comments on drafts. Engagement strategies included large-scale surveying and focus groups, pop-up conversations in libraries and cafes, accessibly-designed community meetings, and online draft plan editing. Planners built new relationships with community organizations to engage a more diverse range of residents across the city.