DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA – After two years of networking and negotiating, D.C.’s Mt. Pleasant neighborhood is installing solar panels on 48 homes in a cooperative move that neighborhood leaders say could be replicated around the region. In a tour Sept. 19, the Mt. Pleasant Solar Cooperative is going to show off the results of efforts to convince the D.C. Council, D.C. Public Service Commission, D.C. utility Pepco and other businesses to enact policies and price targets that make it easier for a neighborhood to go solar all at once.
When the new solar installations are complete, the co-op said the sun will power about 4% of the neighborhood’s 1,200 single-family homes. The panels, co-op leaders said, will cut those homes’ energy consumption by more than 25% each year.
Through testimony at D.C. Council hearings on energy bills, spreadsheets on long-term costs and pro bono legal work on the regulatory aspects from another lawyer neighbor, the co-op said their efforts were only possible by advocating for changes in D.C. law that helped raise the penalty for RPS non-compliance and raise the price of renewable energy credits that homeowners could then sell back to utilities. For more information, visit the Mt. Pleasant Solar Co-op’s website.