Sinai House, an independent non-profit affiliated with Temple Sinai and located in Ward 6, provides transitional housing for DC families. New Columbia Solar installed a solar system with a size just below 6 kW, split between 2 apartments, in September, 2016.
Size of solar system: 6 kW split between 2 apartments
Monthly Savings: >30% depending upon the unit
Up-front cost to customer: $0.00
Our families are responsible for their utilities which can be as much as $150 – $250 per month. When you’re earning $10/hour, that is a very significant cost. Our goal is get families back on their feet and to do so, we want to take as many loads off their backs as possible. So reducing their utility bills is very important to our mission.
The solar system is reducing electricity from the grid and depending upon the unit is providing savings of approximately 30% depending upon the unit. Some of our residents are on fixed annual charges, so they won’t see the benefit immediately unless they switch off the program.
The Board of Directors has been incredibly supportive. It was actually a Board Member who initially discovered this solar program. Now that we’ve taken a first step, we’re excited to do even more! The residents are excited as well. Going Green is seen as an option only for people with resources to figure it out. When you’re struggling to stay ahead every day, you don’t have time to think about ways to Go Green and it is great that this program allows low-income to participate.
While Sinai House is independent of Temple Sinai, it’s actually the Temple Sinai Congregation that got this started. When Temple members decided to go solar, they arranged for an energy company to donate a solar system, which was donated to us. That system hasn’t yet been installed, but that first step is what led Sinai House Board members to investigate solar. Without the Congregations support, this may not have happened.
Yes, now that we’ve started, we’re continuing. We’re investigating weatherization programs, and getting smarter about appliances. We’re also investigating the possibility of helping our residents get jobs in the solar industry. These are good paying jobs and the city is investing in training. We think it would be good if we could get our residents into these program.
New Columbia Solar made going solar effortless. They explained everything step by step and made it simple so that we could explain it to our residents and get approval from the Board of Directors. They were so fast and so professional. Our residents hardly even aware of the installation.
They went above and beyond and helped us with issues that we not even their responsibility. When we had a problem with another energy company, that had nothing to do with their solar system, they helped us and educated us so that we could advocate for our residents and we got it resolved in our favor. When we were concerned about our roof, they helped us find a cheaper solution. Finally, they introduced us to other programs that we might be able to benefit from in DC, both the local and federal government.
Absolutely, and I already have!
Justina’s Hair Gallery is a beauty salon located in Ward 7 in NE Washington, DC. New Columbia Solar interconnected 12 kW of solar located on Justina’s roof in September, 2016.
Size of solar system: 12 kW
Pre-solar monthly electricity bill: $150 – $350 depending upon the month
Post-solar monthly electricity bill: Less than $50
Monthly Savings: Over 70% savings
Up-front cost to customer: $0.00
The primary reason for going solar was to save on electricity costs. As a beauty salon, we use a lot of electricity and my bills were averaging $150 to $350 depending upon the month. When the DC Government mentioned the solar program I jumped on it and am very excited to be a part of it.
I’m saving over 70% in the amount of electricity I am using from Pepco because the solar panels generate electricity. The electricity savings hasn’t translated into monthly bill savings yet because I chose Pepco’s Budget Billing Plan, where I avoid seasonal spikes and pay a flat amount each month. But I expect it will be adjusted soon since there has been such a drop in how much electricity I am using from Pepco.
A lot of customers notice the panels and they’re asking questions. They’re interested and know it is the future. I’ve explained what I’ve learned and spent a lot of time talking with the other local businesses.
I am investigating a local grant program and may apply. The solar panels would increase the chances that I could win the grant since I get a certain number of points by having them.
It was excellent! The team was so professional. They made sure they stayed out of our way. We couldn’t even hear them working on the roof. New Columbia Solar made sure they stayed on top of the details and checked in with us daily during construction.
Their professionalism. I wanted a professional team and that was exactly what I got.
I already have!