No-cost solar installations provide equitable access to clean energy


Southern Energy Management is completing 14 solar installations in North Carolina for low- to moderate-income homeowners as a part of the Clean Energy Initiative of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Community Development Action Coalition (HBCU CDAC).

The Clean Energy Initiative of HBCU CDAC is thrilled to bring action-oriented and measurable change to underserved communities. The disparities and inequities are clear.  It is imperative that our most vulnerable neighborhoods in Greensboro, NC, and across the country have access to clean energy and advanced technology solutions that will bring about cost savings and are supportive of balancing growth, equity, and environmental injustices,” said Karen Soares, director of the HBCU Clean Energy Initiative.

To date, ten solar systems have been installed in Greensboro, with four installations in progress in Winston-Salem. These projects are part of a national initiative spearheaded by HBCU CDAC, which was charged by the Department of Energy (DOE) to increase awareness and equitable access to clean energy solutions through the direct engagement of the nation’s HBCUs and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs). In the Spring and Summer of 2021, HBCU CDAC identified HBCU North Carolina A&T (NCA&T) University in the City of Greensboro as the first university for community-based deployment in North Carolina.

Southern Energy Management (SEM), a Certified B Corporation solar installer based in North Carolina, installed SolarEdge optimizers, inverters, and consumption and production monitoring applications, allowing homeowners to track solar usage and savings in real-time. By aggregating the SolarEdge monitoring data, HBCU CDAC will be able measure the impact within the community and advocate for funding to grow the program across the country. The completed systems are covering an average of 76% of the homeowner’s electricity usage through May of this year.

Central to CDAC’s mission and work is a partnership engagement model that prioritizes relationships that empower HBCUs, MSIs, and their affiliated organizations as partners, beneficiaries, and ultimate stewards of sustainable green communities. Our work, in this regard, in North Carolina and other markets has allowed us to stress test that model and we are now moving forward to bring our efforts to full scale, said Henry Golatt, chief of strategy and partnerships, HBCU Clean Energy Initiative.

Founded in 2010, the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Community Development Action Coalition (CDAC) is a national nonprofit intermediary that promotes, supports, and advocates on behalf of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and minority-serving institutions (MSIs) in their work to build and expand just, equitable, healthy, and sustainable communities.

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