Clean Energy Group awards $1 million for solar + storage in underserved communities

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Clean Energy Group (CEG), a national nonprofit focused on the equitable expansion of clean energy, said it awarded more than $1 million in grants to community-serving organizations advancing solar + storage.

The grants have led to the construction of 93 solar + storage projects across 22 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. To date, the grant awards have resulted in the completion of 30 solar + storage projects in low-income communities and communities of color.

The grants originate from CEG’s Technical Assistance Fund, a grant program founded in 2014 as a branch of the organization’s Resilient Power Project. That project, in turn, was launched to provide relief in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, with the goal of increasing access to the resilience, health, and economic benefits of solar + storage in underserved communities.

The Technical Assistance Fund issues targeted grants averaging about $10,000 each to support solar + storage projects that are in the early stages of exploration. The grants fill a capacity gap among community-serving nonprofits and affordable housing providers that lack the in-house expertise to evaluate solar + storage as well as the financial resources to hire experienced technical services providers.

In addition to offering project-based technical assistance, a portion of the grant funding also supports knowledge-building for nonprofits new to solar + storage. As of 2021, more than 50% of grant dollars have been awarded to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color organizations.

Case study

An example of the effect of the program in action is the Jubilee Housing and New Partners Community Solar. In 2018 it received a $9,000 CEG grant for a technoeconomic feasibility assessment of solar + storage for the Maycroft Apartments, an affordable housing development in Washington, D.C.

The resulting analysis was used to secure a $65,000 grant from the Pepco Foundation to fund the battery storage portion of a $327,000 solar + storage system. The completed project delivers monthly energy savings to the residents and supports a resilience center that  provides access to lighting, cooling, food storage and preparation, and charging for phones and medical devices during outages.

“Jubilee Housing expresses its gratitude to Clean Energy Group for their grant,” said Martin Mellett, Jubilee Housing Vice President of External Affairs. He said the grant not only allowed the organizations to create a first-of-its-kind Resiliency Center at the Maycroft Apartments, but “is channeling the benefits of solar + storage to low-income housing residents – who most severely feel the impact of energy outages.”

Clean Energy Group is currently raising funds to achieve its goal of awarding another $1 million in Technical Assistance Funds over the next three years.

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