By Colleen Grablick, DCist
Solar panels are coming to more than 500 homes in Ward 8 — an investment the city’s energy officials say will reduce both greenhouse gas emissions and residents’ utility bills.
DC Green Bank, a city initiative that finances clean energy projects, announced the investment on Thursday, which will funnel $12.4 million into the installation of 2.2 megawatts of solar energy at four D.C. affordable housing properties in wards 5 and 8.
Rooftop solar panels will be installed at the Arbor View complex located near United Medical Center and at the Randle Hill apartments in Congress Heights. Meanwhile, solar carports and new electric vehicle charging stations will come to the Overlook at Oxon Run in Ward 8 and the Edgewood Commons in Ward 5. Construction is expected to be complete by the end of 2023, according Gary Decker, the director of strategic engagement at DC Green Bank. In addition to an estimated yearly reduction in greenhouse gas emission of roughly 1,8000 tons of carbon dioxide, the project will offer residents at the 536 units a 25% discount on their electric bills.
“We know that a clean, renewable, and affordable future for the District will require portfolios of projects like this to be replicated citywide,” Brandi Colander , chair of the DC Green Bank Board of Directors, said in a statement Thursday.
The investment is the latest in a series of projects spearheaded by DC Green Bank since it was established by the D.C. Council and Mayor Muriel Bowser in 2018. It’s also another effort to transition the city’s energy to more renewable options while not leaving behind low-income residents, for whom solar options are often too expensive. (According to the Solar Energy Industry Association, the price of installing solar panels on average-sized home in the U.S. is around $20,000.)
“Not many residents can afford to put solar on their roof,” Jean Nelson-Houpert, DC Green Bank’s interim CEO and chief financial officer, told DCist/WAMU. “For residents in affordable housing, [solar] would be even more prohibitive, so financing projects like this helps these communities that would’ve been left behind.”