Energy is expensive. And in the past few months, it’s gotten very expensive. For some households in Montgomery County, this is merely inconvenient; however, for many, high energy costs represent a significant daily challenge. While it’s possible to cut back on some expenses, not using electricity simply isn’t an option.
As of 2019, 17% of Montgomery County households experienced high energy burdens – meaning they paid more than 6% of their income for energy. According to Montgomery County Climate Action Plan 2021, (pg 24), during that time, 9% of Montgomery County households lived in energy poverty, and paid more than 10% of their income for energy. That means that almost 1 in 5 people in Montgomery County – 1 in 5 of our neighbors – feel the pinch every time they turn on their lights, stove, or microwave.
If we really want to address high energy burdens in Montgomery County, we must start in our community by helping our neighbors. Groundswell’s new community solar project at the Paddington Square Apartments in Silver Spring allows you to make a difference for household energy burdens in Montgomery County in a way that was never before possible. Community Solar at Paddington Square is the first community solar project in Montgomery County that lets subscribers give back to our Montgomery County community by sharing power with your neighbors. Developed in partnership with the Montgomery County Greenbank, the Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County, and Sunlight General Capital, Community Solar at Paddington Square is designed to improve energy equity our community. When you subscribe to Community Solar at Paddington Square, you bring Montgomery County closer to its goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2027, while improving energy equity for our neighbors in Montgomery County.
When it comes to making community solar accessible to all, Groundswell is changing the game. Typically, community solar projects offer the same small discount to all subscribers, regardless of household income. While saving with clean energy is great, programs that ignore household energy burdens within our community don’t direct solar savings to our neighbors who need it most. Additionally, many solar projects require subscribers to jump through financial hoops, including credit checks, multi-year contracts, and sharing sensitive or personal financial information. In 2020, Groundswell set out to change that by launching its first SharePowerTM community solar project in Washington, DC. With SharePower, Groundswell makes community solar available to everyone, by offering subscriptions with no credit checks, no long term contracts, and no cost to those who qualify as low or moderate-income.
Community Solar at Paddington Square is open to all Pepco Maryland customers. The project is a 273kW system large enough to serve 91 households with clean, local power. When you subscribe to Community Solar at Paddington Square, you pay a flat monthly fee of $45, which is billed quarterly. Your subscription will help connect 28 households in Montgomery County with high energy burdens to no-cost community solar subscriptions. These no-cost subscriptions reduce the electricity bills of participating income-qualified households by up to 50% and dramatically improve their household energy burden. You will also see your commitment to clean energy in Montgomery County reflected on your monthly Pepco bill, where your community solar credits will be listed. These solar credits will offset the majority of your subscription fee and serve as a reminder of the greenhouse gas emissions you prevent through your community solar subscription.
Signing up is easy. There is no credit check or long-term commitment, and you can cancel your subscription at any time for no charge. If you are ready to subscribe or want to learn more, please visit us at our SharePower website.
If you have any questions, please reach out to Groundswell’s Customer Support Team at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call them at (202) 505-3051. Maryland Subscriber Organization Approval Number: 17C2149980003866
Written by Sam Schacht, Groundswell Subscriber Engagement and Support Manager