Reps. Sarbanes and Cummings, U.S. Department of Energy and Maryland Clean Energy Center Announce New Solar Partnership with the City of Baltimore

Project Will Help Reduce Home Energy Bills, Boost Baltimore’s Clean Energy Capacity and Provide Energy Industry Job Training for Unemployed and Underemployed Community Members
July 19, 2016
CONTACT: Sarbanes Press Office
(202) 225-4016

BALTIMORE, MD – Congressmen John Sarbanes and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) today announced a new agreement between the U.S. Department of Energy, the Maryland Clean Energy Center and the City of Baltimore to increase access to solar energy for low-income households.

In addition to expanding the city’s clean energy capacity, the agreement will improve access to home weatherization and help lower energy bills. Importantly, by increasing solar energy access and capacity, it will support job training for unemployed or underemployed community members to become a part of the renewable energy industry workforce.

The announcement featured a live solar installation led by nonprofit GRID Alternatives. The installation is one of GRID’s 31 solar installation projects in partnership with the City, Baltimore Energy Challenge, Morgan State University, Coppin State University and local job training groups.

"I'm excited to formalize this partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy and the Maryland Clean Energy Center, which will increase access to solar installations for low-income families, support high-paying sustainable jobs and establish Baltimore City as a Clean Energy Hub," said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

"The outcomes of this MOU will help accelerate the adoption of energy efficiency and solar projects for low income home owners, business owners, local government, non-profit and faith-based institutions,” said David Foster, Senior Advisor at the U.S. Department of Energy.

"MCEC sees an important role in this partnership of clearing any hurdles that could impede project financing," said Katherine Magruder, Executive Director of the Maryland Clean Energy Center. “As an added bonus, we will help homeowners reduce their energy costs and train a ready workforce for future jobs."

“The Obama Administration has helped more Americans than ever before power their homes with solar energy, which has helped American families lower their electric bills, while expanding job opportunities in renewable energy. But even as the cost of solar energy is decreasing, access is still cost prohibitive for many American families, and too many Americans do not have the training needed to enter the industry,” Congressman Cummings said. “This innovative partnership will help solve both these problems for Baltimore residents. It will give families access to solar technology to save them money on their energy bills, and it will also support job training for our neighbors who want to become solar installation technicians.”

“No one program or initiative can fully ameliorate the deep-seated and long-term inequality plaguing many communities within our city, but this new initiative is an important step in addressing the persistent poverty and the lack of economic opportunity that exists in too many Baltimore neighborhoods,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “These types of programs will not only help families reduce their electric bills, but also help train many unemployed and underemployed Baltimoreans to become solar installation technicians. Moving forward, we need to put more programs in place like this one and continue looking for ways to bring well-paying jobs and economic opportunities to Baltimore.”