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Low-income Solar Comes to Dorchester Through Innovative Partnership

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DORCHESTER, Massachusetts, September 4, 2018 – For the past decade, solar power has been largely inaccessible to low– and moderate-income families. To address this disparity,  Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation (DBEDC) has partnered with Resonant Energy, a Dorchester-based solar provider and Sunwealth, the Somerville-based renewable energy investment firm, to complete the demonstration of the Solar Access Program  — Massachusetts’ first scaleable rooftop solar program designed for low-income households and nonprofits. 

Over the past year, the Solar Access Program has worked to develop 13 projects on the roofs of 10 households and 3 nonprofits across the city — totaling to 550 panels and over $500,000 in new clean energy investment in the urban setting. In total, these systems will generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings for the participants and, most importantly, come with zero upfront cost or credit score requirement.

“Through this partnership, we’re proud to be continuing our long-standing commitment to matching environmental responsibility with affordability for our buildings and residents,” said Perry Newman, CEO of DBEDC. “We’ve been thinking about doing more work with solar for years, and this partnership with Resonant Energy and Sunwealth has been the first opportunity we’ve seen where clean energy can directly align with our top priority: ensuring that Dorchester residents and neighbors can stay in their homes and support their families.”

The Solar Access Program program combines available financial resources with local expertise and community needs to increase access to solar energy.  Here’s how it works:

·       Resonant Energy works with homeowners and nonprofits to help them understand how they can host solar on their roof at no cost, regardless of income or credit history, helps them navigate the approval and installation process, and partners with local installers to compete the solar installations.

·       Sunwealth provides capital for the installations, and owns and operates them, providing homeowners or nonprofits with lease income and/or energy savings on their monthly bills, while offering investors an opportunity to support local solar development and energy access, while earning financial returns on their investment.

·       DBEDC plays a crucial role in the design of this program as a long-standing, credit-worthy partner by purchasing a portion of the electricity generated by the hosts  DBEDC’s energy purchase reduces the organization’s energy costs while bringing clean, renewable and distributed energy access to Dorchester, a community that has often borne the burdens of air pollution and environmental degradation associated with dependence on fossil fuels.

“We started this work with community leaders two years ago with the belief that clean energy should be accessible to anyone regardless of income or credit score,” said Isaac Baker, Founder and Co-President of Resonant Energy. “And through partnerships with households, nonprofits, installers, and local investors and partners like Sunwealth and Dorchester Bay EDC, together we’ve broken down all of the technical and financial barriers that have kept solar out of neighborhoods like Dorchester for so long.”

“We envision a future where renewable energy benefits all of us,” said Jon Abe, CEO of Sunwealth, “The Solar Access Program generates powerful returns for our communities, investors, our local economy and the environment. It also provides a model for creating renewable energy access in underserved communities.”


"We never had the money to do it,” said Olive Knight, a participating resident and leader in her local energy cooperative, Co-op Power. “So finally… because of Resonant Energy and the Solar Access Program, we were able to afford it." 

To mark the successful completion of the Solar Access Program, DBEDC will be hosting a celebration during Clean Energy Week on Monday, September 24th from 6:00 - 7:30 pm at 200 Quincy St, Dorchester, MA 02121. More information is available about the event here.
 

About Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation  
Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation (DBEDC) is a community development corporation founded by local civic associations in 1979 to address the problems of economic disinvestment, unemployment, crime, community tensions and the shortage of quality affordable housing undermining Boston’s Dorchester neighborhoods. Over the last 39 years, we have worked in partnership with local leaders and stakeholders to build and preserve 1,100 units of affordable housing and over 200,000 square feet of commercial space, to engage residents in community life, and to support a robust economy through small business support and economic development. The structures we have built are physical manifestations of our work, but at its core, our work is about strengthening our community, which is made up of the people who live in our service area.

About Resonant Energy
Resonant Energy is a Boston-based platform dedicated expanding access to solar PV to nonprofits, small businesses, and households. Founded in 2016, we bring solar to clients through a network of partners and campaigns across MA & NY. Clients benefit from a custom design driven by our algorithm to identify their two best solar options along with a competitive bidding process through our network of verified installation partners and our industry-leading network of financing partners dedicated to making solar accessible to any building owner, regardless of income or credit score. This combination allows us to provide the best value to each client we served as a guarantee – along with an open and transparent process throughout. We believe that in order to see a more just clean energy landscape, solar must be accessible to all organizations and property owners.

About Sunwealth

Sunwealth is a clean energy investment firm working to change who has access to renewable energy by changing the way we invest in it. Combining deep experience in solar development and finance with roots in the community and impact investing sectors, Sunwealth invests in diverse commercial solar projects that deliver clean energy to communities while providing strong financial returns to investors and community partners. The company’s Solar Impact Fund allows participants to forecast the impact of their investment from the beginning – and see that impact develop in real time through transparent monitoring and measurement tools.  Learn more at www.sunwealth.com.
 

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Release Contacts:

Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation
Kimberly R. Lyle, Director of Strategy and Impact
klyle@dbedc.org, (617) 533-9562
www.dbedc.org

Resonant Energy
Isaac Baker, Founder & Co-President
Isaac@resonant.energy
www.resonant.energy

Sunwealth
Ryan Dings, Chief Operating Officer
ryan@sunwealth.com
www.sunwealth.com

Copyright © 2018 Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation, All rights reserved. 


 Mae-Bell Henry, pictured above, has lived in Dorchester, MA for the past 44 years and is one of the first participants in the Solar Access Program.

Mae-Bell Henry, pictured above, has lived in Dorchester, MA for the past 44 years and is one of the first participants in the Solar Access Program.

 Olive Knight, pictured above, has lived in Dorchester, MA for over 25 years and worked with her husband, Alphonse, to bring the Solar Access Program to the city.

Olive Knight, pictured above, has lived in Dorchester, MA for over 25 years and worked with her husband, Alphonse, to bring the Solar Access Program to the city.