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DC Government Announces Historic PACE Financing of Public Housing

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

Washington, DC – November 11, 2015

YWCA Press ReleaseToday, the District of Columbia’s Property Assessed Clean Energy (DC PACE) Program announced $700,000 in financing for the installation of solar and energy efficiency equipment as part of the Phyllis Wheatley Young Women’s Christian Association (Phyllis Wheatley YWCA) $17 million redevelopment. This is 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.

The Phyllis Wheatley YWCA renovation demonstrates a new and exciting use of PACE financing for affordable housing, setting a precedent for the agency. “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 and look forward to the outcome,” noted U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (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 30 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.

“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.
The nearly $6,000 in decreased annual utility bills will generate more resources for the Phyllis Wheatley YWCA to provide supportive services and assisted housing. Capital for the PACE assessment was provided by Amalgamated Bank as part of their commitment to community investment in Washington, D.C. Located at 901 Rhode Island Avenue NW, this historic community institution has provided critical services to women in need for more than 100 years.

“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.”

“PACE financing was essential to the development of this project,” said Buwa Binitie, Managing Principal of Dantes Partners. “PACE allowed us to invest in high-efficiency equipment and solar panels that will save money for the YWCA operating budget down the road.”

“We’re truly excited about this project,” said Andrea Luecke, President and Executive Director of The Solar Foundation. “DC PACE has created a precedent that will allow PACE-financed solar to strengthen the Phyllis Wheatley YWCA, and hopefully many more community institutions in PACE districts across the country.”

Details about the project can be found at: http://CivicPACE.org

About Urban Ingenuity

Urban Ingenuity provides innovative solutions to develop and finance advanced energy projects, building retrofits, and state of the art clean energy infrastructure. Urban Ingenuity is the administrator of the DC Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program and is helping to build the PACE market regionally. 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. For more information, visit www.urbaningenuity.com

About The Solar Foundation

The Solar Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to increase understanding of solar energy through strategic research and education that transform markets. Since 2010, TSF has published its annual National Solar Jobs Census, which established the first credible solar jobs base line for the U.S. The Solar Foundation is considered the nation’s authority on the solar labor force and advises many organizations on the topic. TSF is also a leading provider of educational materials on the economic impacts of solar for local governments through its work with the U.S. Department of Energy. In addition, TSF chairs the National Solar Schools Consortium, a group of stakeholders seeking to make solar a larger part of the national K-12 system. Learn more at TheSolarFoundation.org

Media Contact:
Jackie Weidman, Urban Ingenuity, Marketing Director, jweidman@urbaningenuity.com (202) 681-5760