2023 PSEF Member Project Highlights

Congratulations PSEF Members!

Blacks in Green (BIG) received awards from both the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Bezos Earth Fund to advance environmental justice! You can read the press release here.

Plus, hot-off-the-press: the Illinois Power Agency just approved (December '23) - with top scores - the ambitious new community solar plans of Green Energy Justice Cooperative (GEJC), a consumer-owned clean energy coop launched by Blacks in Green (BIG) and core partners. The plans - aimed at lowering the energy burden of Black, Brown, and other low- and moderate-income (LMI) beneficiaries without access to and/or control of a rooftop, such as renters, condominium owners, and homeowners with unsuitable roofs - include the development of three industry-scale solar projects at 3 MW DC each, totaling 9 MW of solar power. The estimated value of this renewable energy credit award is $12.5M.

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Four PSEF Members were among the 25 Department of Energy Community Power Accelerator Prize's winners in round 1. Congratulations to PSEF Members Cooperativa Hidroeléctrica de la Montaña, Blacks In Green/Green Energy Justice Cooperative, People United for Sustainable Housing ("PUSH") and SAGE Development Authority!   

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PSEF member Native Sun played a lead role in this year’s creation of Minnesota’s Tribal Energy Advisory Board (complete with a full-time staffer and $3M of state support). This is a first in the nation for tribes having a voice in statewide energy planning. Native Sun is also driving the radical energy and economic transformation of Red Lake - one of the country's most unique and isolated indigenous reservations, home to the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians. 

A 20 MW community solar development will provide clean energy to the town and sell to the state's department of transportation – the first tribally-owned VPPA (Virtual Power Purchase Agreement) and the first tribe-to-state agency project in the nation. Furthermore, Native Sun’s energy sovereignty aspirations are drawing on the federal IRA funds to enable clean transportation via electric vehicles (10 already on order), the installation of 3 charging stations, and an electric shuttle - enabling also workforce training programs. Click here to read more about this incredible work.

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Here's an excellent recent article (November ‘23) co-authored by Candace Avalos, Executive Director of PSEF member VERDE in Portland, Oregon. Founded in 2005 to serve the area’s low income and communities of color, Verde is a key partner in the Oregon Just Transition Alliance and was a founding coalition member of the groundbreaking $50M Portland Clean Energy Fund.

 


People Power Solar Coop and Cooperative Energy Futures (CEF) Make Waves at the Sunny Awards


The Sunny Awards for Equitable Community Solar proved to be a big win for two members of PSEF’s network, People Power Solar Coop and Cooperative Energy Futures (CEF). The Sunny Awards, which were held on January 19th, are an initiative of the National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP) Annual Summit, a coalition of community solar stakeholders keen on making community solar more accessible. 


Cooperative Energy Futures’ Faribault Community Solar Project in Minneapolis, Minnesota was one of five $10,000 grand prize winners. Grand prize winners were determined by an external panel that reviewed eligibility requirements and used a pre-set set of scoring guidance to make final prize determinations.  

People Power Solar Coop walked away with a Meaningful Benefits Category Special Recognition award to acknowledge its unique innovation in developing and executing a community ownership model.  


Both organizations work diligently to transform the community solar space with equity and accessibility as their guideposts, and were among 50 overall finalists up for the Sunny Awards. People’s Solar Energy Fund is proud to have them as part of our member network. Join us in celebrating their big wins! 

 


PSEF Member Ho'āhu Energy Coop Leading Hawaii’s First Two Community-Owned Solar Projects

People’s Solar Energy Fund is excited to share that our member Hoʻāhu Energy Cooperative Molokai is working alongside Hawaiian Electric to spearhead Hawaii’s first two community-owned and designed solar and battery projects.


The projects, Kualapuʻu Community Based Renewable Energy Project and Pālāʻau Community Based Renewable Energy Project, will be the first on Moloka’i to offer community-based renewable energy (CBRE). According to Hawaiian Electric’s January 12 press release, the projects could meet “over 20% of Molokai’s energy needs and serve an estimated 1,500 households on the island.” This 20-year initiative has the potential to transform the community’s relationship with CBRE — not only will CBRE be accessible to many Moloka’i residents for the first time, but they’ll see a reduction in energy bills and in the island’s carbon footprint long-term. 

PSEF is proud to have played a small part in supporting Hoʻāhu Energy Cooperative Molokai as they moved through the bidding process for these projects.

To read the official press release, click here: https://www.hawaiianelectric.com/hawaiis-first-two-community-owned-and--designed-solar-projects-coming-to-molokai
To learn more about Hoʻāhu Energy Cooperative Molokai, visit their website: https://hoahuenergy.coop

 


Cleveland Owns Case Study

PSEF Member Cleveland Owns published a case study detailing their progress towards advancing energy democracy and community-owned solar in Ohio. The case study, which can be downloaded here, details how Cleveland Owns explored and mitigated challenges, absorbed lessons learned, and made strides toward building out their first solar array.