NREL-backed nonprofit team advances solar energy for BIPOC chapel

The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) announced this week that nonprofits RE-volv, Green The Church and Interfaith Power & Light will receive financial, analytical and facilitation support as they assist BIPOC-led national places of worship go solar, as part of the third round of the Solar Energy Innovation Network (SEIN).
“We’ve selected teams that are experimenting with creative, promising ideas for the use of solar energy in underserved communities in the U.S.,” said Eric Lockhart, director of the NREL Innovation Network. “The work of these teams will benefit those seeking to adopt and benefit from solar energy. Other communities provide blueprints for new approaches.”

The three nonprofit partners, who have worked together for many years, aim to increase the adoption of solar energy in Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC)-led houses of worship by strengthening existing partnerships and expanding successful efforts.The team will simplify the process of solar and remove barriers to entry by identifying promising sites, making recommendations, financing solar projects, and engaging with local communities.To that end, the partnership aims to help congregations and community members use solar energy in their homes and provide communities with solar workforce development opportunities.
The third round of the Solar Innovation Network, managed by NREL, is focused on overcoming barriers to equitable adoption of solar energy in underserved communities.Contracts awarded to partners are specifically focused on improving equity in commercial-scale solar deployment, where nonprofits face particular barriers to accessing solar financing​​​.
“We know there are huge racial and ethnic disparities in where solar installations are installed in the United States. Through this partnership, we are not only able to help BIPOC-led houses of worship by reducing electricity bills so they can improve the critical services they provide to their communities, but also These projects will increase awareness and visibility of solar energy, and hopefully, RE-volv executive director Andreas Karelas said, will expand the impact of each project by forcing others in the community to use solar energy.
Houses of worship and nonprofits across the country face many hurdles in using solar energy because they can’t take advantage of the federal investment tax credit for solar and it’s harder to justify their credibility with traditional solar financiers.This move will overcome barriers to solar power for places of worship led by BIPOC, allowing them to use solar energy at zero cost, while at the same time saving significantly on their electricity bills, which they can invest back into serving their communities.
“Black churches and faith buildings across the country have to be transformed and managed, and we don’t want to assign that task to someone else,” said Dr. Ambrose Carroll, founder of Green The Church.”The Green Church is committed to promoting and supporting community-driven solar projects and ensuring that these projects are accountable to and co-created with the communities most impacted by them.”

solar lantern lights
Over the next 18 months, RE-volv, Green The Church and Interfaith Power & Light will work to bring solar power to BIPOC-led places of worship, while working with seven other SEIN teams to share lessons learned and help create an A blueprint for equitable deployment of solar energy nationwide.
The Solar Energy Innovation Network is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Solar Energy Technologies and led by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
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Post time: Mar-02-2022