This spring, the Meriden Solar Synthesizers, a team headed by the Meriden Housing Authority in conjunction with other community organizations and with assistance from Advanced Energy Group, was selected to participate in the Department of Energy’s Solar in Your Community Challenge. This challenge is a $5 million contest to support innovative and replicable community-based solar business models and programs that will bring solar to under-served communities. Low and moderate income households represent 40% of America’s population, but less than 5% of all current solar customers. These households as well as nonprofit organizations face several barriers to going solar, including limited financing options, low or no credit history, and lack of access to the federal solar tax credits. The program’s mission is to work to reduce these barriers.
Given MHA’s recent solar endeavors, this Department of Energy program was a natural fit. With its Solar Synthesizers team members, MHA will work to address the current barriers of implementing solar in the affordable housing market including high financing rates, current Net Metering restraints, and limited trained local workforce. The group will market, finance, and install 200 KW of solar over the next 18 months and 1.5 – 2 MW by 2020. In addition, the team will continue its local solar workforce development programs to train and employ unemployed and underemployed community members. Initial projects, conducted on MHA properties currently scheduled for rehab, will encourage efficient training and allow the team to market solar opportunities to other nonprofits, and low-to-moderate income home owners and partners while more shovel ready projects are being installed.
Learn more about this program at www.solarinyourcommunity.org