PRESS RELEASE

      

 

DC Government Announces Historic PACE Financing of Public Housing

Solar and Energy Efficiency Improvements on Phyllis Wheatley YWCA in Shaw Neighborhood Marks New Opportunity for Affordable Housing 

 

CONTACT: Jackie Weidman, DC PACE Marketing Director, jweidman@urbaningenuity.com, 202.681.5760 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

 

Washington, D.C. – Today, the District of Columbia’s Property Assessed Clean Energy (DC PACE) Program announced $700,000 in financing for the renovation of the Phyllis Wheatley Young Women’s Christian Association (Phyllis Wheatley YWCA), a community institution that has provided critical housing and supportive services to women for over 100 years.

“PACE financing was essential to the development of this project,” said Buwa Binitie, Managing Principle of Dantes Partners.  “PACE allowed us to invest in high-efficiency equipment and solar panels that will save money for the YWCA’s operating budget.” This project will actually lower rents for a majority of residents, preserving affordable housing in the rapidly gentrifying Shaw neighborhood, Binitie explained.

This project marks the first time that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has approved the use of PACE for a HUD-assisted mixed finance public housing property.  “Consistent with the President’s Climate Action Plan, HUD continues to enter into initiatives such as PACE and the Better Buildings Challenge. We applaud this innovative use of Multifamily Property Assessed Clean Energy,” noted HUD National Capital Area Office Director, Marvin Turner. The President’s plan sets a goal of installing 300 megawatts of renewable energy across federally-subsidized housing by 2020. The roof of the Phyllis Wheatley YWCA will support 31 kilowatts of solar upon project completion.

DC PACE, a program of the District Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE), will authorize financing for solar power and deep energy and water upgrades that will help the property run more efficiently. Savings from those improvements will help pay for the new equipment and reduce the building’s utility costs. 

The nearly $6,000 in decreased annual utility bills will generate more resources for the YWCA to provide supportive services and assisted housing. The YWCA will realize a net of $90,000 in utility savings over the lifetime of the project. Capital for the PACE assessment was provided by Amalgamated Bank as part of their commitment to community investment in Washington, D.C.

 “PACE financing is an important economic development tool that drives new private capital investment into deep utility savings projects that preserve affordable housing and cut utility bills for District residents,” said DOEE Director Tommy Wells. DC PACE funding in the District tops $1 million with today’s announcement.

 “This project proves that clean energy upgrades are good for the bottom line,” said Bracken Hendricks, CEO of Urban Ingenuity and DC PACE program administrator. “Whether that means freeing up dollars for vital human services, or cutting expenses for business owners, a green economy is a better economy for people in need, and that is the message of PACE.” 

Urban Ingenuity, the program administrator for the DC PACE program, is working with The Solar Foundation, through a funding award from the US Department of Energy, to make PACE financing available for low-income housing and other civic institutions nationwide. 

“At a time when solar energy is growing exponentially around the country, smart policies like PACE financing can make renewable energy a cornerstone of community-based economic development,” said Rhone Resch, President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “PACE is a vital part of the infrastructure necessary to build a clean energy economy and this project is a good example of how it can be applied.”  

DC PACE financing is a form of Property Assessed Clean Energy that is available to finance upgrades for all building owners of commercial, retail, industrial, multi-family, and non-profit institutions. 

Other Projects
Solar PACE for BP Gas Station
400 M Street SE Affordable Housing
Phyllis Wheatley YWCA

400M Solar Array

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