Community Renewable Energy has partnered with Root + Branch, a DC benefit corporation, to develop a family of projects that actively utilize renewable energy to create shared value for DC neighborhoods.
Building Neighborhood Equity
As a partnership, we harness financial, community, and renewable energy resources to boost the capacity of local nonprofits.
We broker partnerships between large, established public sector institutions in Washington, DC (such as universities and hospitals) that want to enhance sustainability and smaller, highly engaged community organizations (such as food banks and shelters). We help local nonprofits access budget-saving solar power
Our model for solar installations uses progressive, solar-friendly public policy to create energy projects that are accessible to nonprofits, renters, and low-income residents and attractive to investors and lenders.
Here’s how it works: Nonprofit partners provide their otherwise unused roofs for a solar installation. In return, they lower operating costs, enhance sustainability, and support their communities’ vitality.
In partnership with public sector institutions and nonprofit partners, we will finance, own, and maintain the solar installations. Projects are hosted by our partner (for instance, the roof of a university or school), and we provide our partner with clean power for a below market price– in many cases, even for free. These systems are developed at no cost to our partners, and by offsetting their operational costs, we free them to focus on what matters most: their missions.
OUR SHARED VALUE SOLAR PROJECTS:
- Repurpose vacant space on roofs to create new active green roofs
- Reduce the carbon footprint of Washington, DC
- Provide a return on investment for our partners and lenders
- Empower and support proactive community organizers
- Provide a replicable, scalable model for use in urban areas across the nation
- Catalyze future opportunities for our neighbors and partner organizations
- Serve as building blocks for equitable economic growth in communities
It doesn’t stop at renewable energy. Additional profits earned by our shared value solar projects will be reinvested in the neighborhood, through partner nonprofits, local community development groups, investors, or even local residents, as determined at the onset of each project. Installations also provide a range of educational and job training opportunities, such as serving as hands-on classrooms for renewable energy technology job training and enhanced curricula for STEM disciplines.
The District of Columbia is in the midst of a massive influx of investment and revitalization. Many vibrant neighborhoods are benefiting from urban growth, but they also suffer the consequences of gentrification. Rapid development is forcing policy makers and residents to find ways to grow and develop in an equitable fashion that builds value for both current and new residents.
At the same time, the District has stands to benefit from its solar-friendly legislation and engaged, informed community of renewable energy supporters. Virtual net metering policies and cooperative-friendly legislation allow solar systems to benefit entire neighborhoods instead of just one household at a time. By creating the platform for progressive community engagement, DC has opened up renewable energy to renters, low-income residents and cooperatives.