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EC Seattle Helps Bring Solar Power to Affordable Housing

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From left: R. Craig Smith, Director, Consumer Energy Solutions; Joel Sisolak, Senior Director of Sustainability & Planning, Capitol Hill Housing; Steve Gelb, Director, EC Seattle; Mikhaila Gonzalez, Program Manager, Spark Northwest. (Photo courtesy of Northwest Spark.)In collaboration with Spark Northwest – a Seattle-based nonprofit working to expand affordable, locally-controlled clean energy – EC Seattle has helped secure $225,000 in grants for solar energy installations at three local affordable housing complexes owned by nonprofit Capitol Hill Housing. Two of the three developments are part of EC Seattle’s RENEW Multi-family program.

The grants are part of the $1 million Green Up program run by local electric utility Seattle City Light (SCL). The voluntary program allows SCL customers to support renewable energy development and education by donating an extra $3 or more on their utility bills, with the funds used to purchase renewable energy credits and pay for solar installation projects such as those placed on three University of Washington residence halls. The contributions also fund solar or other renewable energy installations and education projects in SCL’s service territory. According to SCL, more than 13,000 customers support Green Up monthly.

The newly-announced individual grants will pay for solar panel installation at 14 public school, affordable housing and community–based locations. In addition to Capitol Hill Housing the grantees include several Seattle public schools, Seattle and King County parks, Seattle Central College, Harborview Medical Center and Pacific Science Center.

“We are gratified that our partnership with Spark Northwest resulted in the award of $225,000 for solar installations at three properties owned by Capital Hill Housing,” said EC Seattle Director Steve Gelb. “The grants will help create pilot clean energy projects in the affordable housing sector, advancing our goal to bring solar to all viable affordable housing properties in Seattle by way of our recently-launched Megawatt Project.”

Gelb said he and Spark Northwest staff wrote the successful grant application, using REWEW Multi-family as a program model 

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