New effort helps Baltimore families go solar, save money

By Ben Delman on April 12, 2016

The Fuel Fund of Maryland has selected GRID Alternatives to install solar panels for its solar pilot project with Fuel Fund clients. The Fuel Fund selected GRID Alternatives with the support of MD SUN and input from program participants through a competitive bidding process over two other organizations.

“GRID Alternatives is looking forward to this new partnership with MD SUN and The Fuel Fund of Maryland,” said Nicole Steele, Executive Director of GRID Alternatives Mid Atlantic. “We envision these initial solar installations as first steps in implementing long-term, scalable solutions to reduce low-income homeowners energy costs. We hope this opportunity can provide a solid baseline for future projects.”

MD SUN expands access to solar by educating Maryland residents about the benefits of distributed solar energy, helping them organize group solar installations, and strengthening the state’s solar policies and its community of solar supporters. MD SUN has worked with communities to develop co-ops across the state. It has helped hundreds of Marylanders go solar. Participation in partnership with the Fuel Fund to bring solar to Fuel Fund clients is part of MD SUN’s efforts to expand access to renewables to all Marylanders.

Co-op members selected GRID Alternatives because of its highly competitive pre-paid power purchase agreement, high quality equipment, and workforce development model.

The Fuel Fund is covering the cost of 20-year pre-paid power purchase agreements for each participant through funding support from the Town Creek foundation. GRID Alternatives will provide each co-op member with a 3.1 kW system. These installations are expected to significantly reduce each participant’s electricity costs. By using a pre-paid power purchase agreement, bidding the work as a group and choosing a single installer, the Fuel Fund is saving 30% to 40% off the cost of each system. 

“Through this pilot project, we are connecting our clients to solar power to reduce their energy burden,” said Jon Rosa, Executive Director of the Fuel Fund of Maryland. “More importantly our clients now have the opportunity to achieve true energy affordability and self-sustainability.”