Is there solar power In DC? In 2008, a group of homeowners in Mount Pleasant launched a solar rebate program in their neighborhood. By the end of next month, 48 homes will have had solar panels installed on their rooftops. Most of them will receive an approximate $7,000 rebate and a 30% tax credit. In addition, they will be able to sell their unused energy to Pepco. They were able to accomplish all this by coming together and forming the Mount Pleasant Solar Co-Op.
The genesis of this movement is with two young boys, 12 years old at the time, who saw and were inspired by the movie “An Inconvenient Truth”. It all started with a dinner table conversation Anya Schoolman had with her son Walter and his friend Diego Arene-Morley. They asked her if the Earth was going to overheat in their lifetime. And they decided, “Why don’t we get solar power in our neighborhood?” The boys were told by their parents, Anya Schoolman and Jeff Morley, that it was a worthy cause but they had some homework to do. To make it a financially viable project, they had to recruit many more people.
The boys went door to door with pamphlets they created to generate interest in their project, and the interest level was high! They, with their parents, educated neighbors on reducing their energy bills and arranged for discounted energy audits. They had believers, and the co-operative was born. Then, in 2008, the solar rebate program became a reality. The installation costs about $20,000 and should pay off in about 7 years. Kudos to these two teens for three years of hard work to accomplish this milestone.
To celebrate, the Mt. Pleasant Solar Cooperative held their first public event on September 19, an eco-fair, and arranged for tours of solar installations. The event was held at Bancroft Elementary at 1755 Newton St NW in Washington DC.
In the future, they want to support the formation of other Co-Ops in all of DC’s eight wards. Schoolman says, “Over the next few years, D.C. will set up a Sustainable Energy Utility and roll out new smart meters for residences. We want to be there, to make sure these new programs are rolled out in a way that promotes residential solar.”