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Community Renewables Program Allows DC Renters to Go Solar

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Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

The DC Council unanimously approved the Community Renewables Energy Act yesterday, which establishes a new program to help renters and thousands of other DC families, schools and businesses go solar for the first time. Advocates applauded the council members for giving DC residents more ways to participate in and benefit from our growing solar economy.

“It’s great to see our nation’s capital leading on clean energy," said Hannah Masterjohn, policy advocate at Vote Solar. "This new shared renewables program will make solar energy work for more homes and businesses and help the District meet its clean energy goals.”

“Given the many local economic and health benefits of expanding access to clean energy, this proposal had broad community support," said Irv Sheffey, DC organizer with the Sierra Club. "We thank the council for turning that strong public support into real clean energy progress with today’s vote.”

“This legislation will bring clean energy and bill savings to more DC residents, including communities that have been under-served by our clean energy programs to date,” said Anya Schoolman, president of DC Solar United Neighborhoods (DC SUN). “It’s going to create a new economic engine for the District and put people to work installing solar right here in our community where we need it the most.”

Despite tremendous growth in solar adoption nationwide, many DC energy consumers—including the 60 percent of households who rent—are simply unable to invest in their own on-site solar energy systems. Shared renewables arrangements overcome that barrier by allowing energy customers to subscribe to an off-site renewable energy project and get utility bill credit for their portion of the energy produced. The program will be available to all DC energy customers, and will allow them to sign up for up to 100 percent local renewable energy for their home or business.

"This is a good day for the many congregations in DC that dream of getting their energy 'from heaven,'" said Joelle Novey, director of Greater Washington Interfaith Power & Light. "For the first time, any DC resident can join with neighbors to install solar panels on our community buildings."

The electric utility Pepco worked diligently with solar advocates to develop the program.

“Care and respect for the environment have long been fundamental principles that guide our business, and enable our success today and into the future,” said Donna M. Cooper president, Pepco Region. “Not only are we committed to delivering safe and reliable electricity, we are also committed to collaborating with the District of Columbia government and other stakeholders to become a model of innovative environmental policies and practices, including the expansion of renewable energy to District of Columbia residents.” 

Visit EcoWatch’s RENEWABLES page for more related news on this topic.

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