The Monastery of Our Lady Mt. Carmel in northeast Washington, DC is located on a serene, 5-acre campus that is home to the Discalced Carmelite Friars. The Discalced Carmelite Friars of are called to a quiet life of prayer, contemplation and service. Through this community solar project, the friars established a greater connection with the community surrounding the monastery and have made a positive contribution to their neighbors as part of their mission of service.
Construction of this community solar project was completed in October 2019, and the resulting array now produces solar electricity for about 50 local households, including 12 Empowered — or income-qualified — households who are receiving subscriptions at no cost in order to help them cut their electricity bills in half. The resulting aggregate savings for Empowered households total approximately $120,000 over the 20-year life of the project.
The 151 kW project was financed by Sunlight General Capital and was constructed by Ipsun Solar — a regional solar energy contractor that balances purpose and profits to build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.
Groundswell served as nonprofit developer and continues to lead subscriber management for the project through its SharePower program.
In the spirit of service, Groundswell also worked with the Discalced Carmelite Friars to reduce the monastery's electricity bills through 100% wind power and by connected them to local energy efficiency opportunities through the DC Sustainable Energy Utility. Saving money on utilities combined with solar lease payments helps to support the friars’ mission.