Sarbanes Highlights Benefits of Solar Installation Programs That Reduce Energy Costs for Low-Income Homeowners

During a House Energy Subcommittee hearing today, Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) touted the success of solar installation programs in underserved communities that help lower homeowners’ utility bills and expand access to affordable clean energy.

“I wanted to speak to a project in Baltimore City that I’m very proud of, that is trying to lift up communities that have been under a lot of pressure, particularly recently,” said Congressman Sarbanes, who led the cutting-edge initiative in 2016 with the U.S. Department of Energy, the Maryland Clean Energy Center and the City of Baltimore. “It’s a program called the Baltimore Shines program. It helps increase access to solar energy by installing solar panels in underserved communities. What the City of Baltimore does is it couples that work under the Weatherization Assistance Program … so, they go in and they do all these things at the same time.”

Sarbanes continued: “It has a workforce component that trains local individuals for jobs in the solar sector, which can be very good jobs. And I’m glad to see that GRID Alternatives — one of the witnesses here today — they were an early partner in the Baltimore Shines project, the pilot project that then became Baltimore Shines, along with the Department of Energy — the U.S. Department of Energy — a few years back, Morgan State University, and others which provided almost 30 homes in that area of Baltimore with solar systems.”

Sarbanes concluded: “… All of these different initiatives that we’re speaking about today have the opportunity to be empowering for the communities in which they’re deployed.”