Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission and Neighborhood Sun Partner to Make Renewable Energy Accessible to Low- and Moderate-Income Residents Through Community Solar
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND, Aug. 4, 2022 – Last week, the Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission (MCHOC) subscribed six of its properties to Neighborhood Sun’s landmark Oaks Landfill community solar farm, bringing clean energy access to the low- and moderate-income (LMI) residents of 829 affordable housing units. Neighborhood Sun was founded in Montgomery County, so the opportunity to subscribe local LMI residents to a project within their very own community served as proof that clean energy generation can be local and community-oriented. Built on 16-acres of repurposed landfill, the Oaks Landfill community solar project is dedicated 100% to serving LMI community members, making it the largest project of its kind in the entire nation.
The clean energy generated by Oaks Landfill is not only better for the health of community members, improving local air quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but also cheaper than fossil fuels, enabling MCHOC to pass along those energy savings to residents. According to the Department of Energy, 44% of all U.S. households (nearly 50 million) are defined as low-income. Low-income households spend three times more of their income on energy costs than non-low-income households, so even a small increase in energy prices can be catastrophic. Additionally, LMI households are more likely to be ineligible for many clean energy options due to barriers like a lack of upfront capital, credit score checks and homeownership status or location. Without more community solar farms like Oaks Landfill created to intentionally serve the LMI community, low-income Americans who have already suffered the most from environmental injustices at the hands of the fossil fuel industry will be the last to benefit from the clean energy transition.
The Oaks Landfill community solar farm began construction this fall in Montgomery County, Maryland, thanks to a partnership between Ameresco, Inc. (the project developer, owner, and operator), Neighborhood Sun, a Certified B Corp that acquires and manages customers for community solar projects) and Montgomery County. The affordable housing properties that will soon have access to clean energy through community solar include Arcola Towers, Bauer Park, Diamond Square, Manchester Manor, Waverly House and Westwood Tower.
“We already bring clean, affordable energy to thousands of residents across 7 states, but nothing is more meaningful than bringing equitable clean energy access and savings to lower-income residents in our very own county. Everyone deserves access to affordable housing and clean energy, regardless of income level, so we’re grateful to Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission for helping to make that a reality,” said Aaron Fagan, Director of Mid-Atlantic Sales at Neighborhood Sun.
Thanks to Neighborhood Sun’s community solar model, local residents and businesses who qualify as LMI can benefit from clean energy savings by subscribing to a share of the energy produced by a solar farm near them– all without any installations, costs, or homeownership requirements. Anyone who receives an electric bill can benefit from improved air quality and reduced energy costs, including renters, residents in multi-unit buildings, municipalities, non-profits and even businesses that don’t own their roofs. Through the subscription program for this new project, LMI residents of Montgomery County who have Pepco as their current utility provider are eligible to receive 25% savings on their electricity costs every month. As of this month, Neighborhood Sun has fully subscribed the available capacity of Oaks Landfill community solar farm to 100% LMI customers.
About Neighborhood Sun
Neighborhood Sun is committed to bringing the promise of solar to everyone, not just the select few. The company is a national leader in expanding solar access to underserved communities to address energy equity. Through its SunEngine™ advanced software platform, it offers a flexible, secure and fully transparent platform for solar developers or asset owners, plus a simplified enrollment experience for customers. For more information, go to www.neighborhoodsun.solar
About Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission
The Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County (HOC) was established in 1974 to better respond to the County’s need for affordable housing. HOC is authorized to acquire, own, lease, and operate housing; to provide for the construction or renovation of housing; obtain financial assistance from any public or private source to assist its housing activities; and arrange for social services, resident services and day care. For more information, visit www.hocmc.org
About Ameresco, Inc.
Founded in 2000, Ameresco, Inc. (NYSE:AMRC) is a leading cleantech integrator and renewable energy asset developer, owner and operator. Our comprehensive portfolio includes energy efficiency, infrastructure upgrades, asset sustainability and renewable energy solutions delivered to clients throughout North America and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit www.ameresco.com
Stephanie Monmoine [email protected] (919)451-0883