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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: BCC joins President Obama in making solar power commitment

Friday, May 9, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 9, 2014

CONTACT: Connor Osetek, 646-200-5282, connor.osetek@berlinrosen.com

BOSTON COMMUNITY CAPITAL JOINS PRESIDENT OBAMA IN MAKING SOLAR POWER COMMITMENT

BCC to Double Program to Help Low-Income Communities Get Solar Power

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA — Joining President Obama today in his announcement of major initiatives to combat climate change, Boston Community Capital (BCC) announced a commitment to double their innovative program that helps low-income communities gain access to solar power. BCC CEO Elyse Cherry and other private and public sector leaders joined Obama at a press conference in Mountain View, California, today to highlight new solar energy commitments made by companies and nonprofits such as BCC.

“All communities – regardless of income level – should be able to benefit from solar power’s cost savings and price stability and take part in efforts to address climate change,” Cherry said. “We are working to make that a reality, and we are proud to join President Obama in his efforts to expand solar power nationwide.”

As part of today’s announcement, BCC is committing to developing an additional four megawatts of solar capacity for affordable housing, nonprofit organizations and community facilities, doubling the capacity of its current projects. The organization has already purchased, developed and placed over 17,600 photovoltaic panels, making it one of the largest solar providers for low-income communities in the country.

Two-thirds of BCC’s solar projects serve affordable, multi-family housing developments, where the panels typically meet 100 percent of the buildings’ common-area electricity needs. The rest serve nonprofit organizations and community facilities, such as the Greater Boston Food Bank, where 1,150 panels have lowered its food refrigeration costs by $20,000 per year. The panels installed by BCC reduce carbon emissions by 3,082 tons every year – the equivalent of cutting car travel by 6.7 million miles annually.

BCC’s new installations would:

  • Create a model to make clean, fixed-cost solar electricity available to all affordable housing tenants and properties. Currently, solar electricity is only an option for homeowners and buildings with sunny rooftops, but BCC is developing projects that allow property owners, non-profit organizations and tenants to participate in and benefit from solar developments located off site.
  • Build resiliency to a changing climate by providing low-income communities with emergency power generation that can power emergency lighting and equipment and allow residents to charge cell phones, laptops and other communication devices after major storm events, like Hurricane Sandy.
  • Lower the costs of solar development on multi-family affordable housing and community facilities that benefit low-income families so these types of projects are less reliant on long-term subsidies.

BCC has created innovative financing structures to make solar power accessible to affordable housing developments, nonprofit organizations and other community institutions, which often cannot take advantage of existing solar incentives, most of which are tax-based. BCC’s model leverages existing market tools and third party capital to bring together the financing necessary to install the solar panels so that the affordable housing developments or community organizations hosting the panels pay nothing up front. BCC retains ownership of the panels, and in exchange, the host institutions make a long-term commitment to buy the electricity produced, at prices that are lower and more stable than conventional sources.

Boston Community Capital (BCC) is a nonprofit community development financial institution dedicated to building healthy communities where low-income people live and work. Since 1985, BCC has invested over $1 billion in projects that provide affordable housing, good jobs, and new opportunities in low-income communities, connecting these neighborhoods to the mainstream economy.

Download the Release.