Maryland Vitality Administration awards grant to low-to-moderate revenue housing developer for residential solar microgrid


Housing Initiative Partnership (HIP), a green, nonprofit, affordable property developer based in Prince George’s County, teamed up with Pepco and Emera Technologies to receive a $ 200,000 grant from the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) to build a new microgrid for residential buildings received small subdivision of new Net Zero single family homes in Fairmount Heights, Maryland.

The grant builds on efforts catalyzed by an expansion of the MEA’s Resilient Maryland program and will support a community solar and battery storage system and shelf, assembly and wiring equipment for six low to middle income households. This innovative pilot project, funded with design and feasibility funds in 2020, will enable new homeowners to generate their own energy independently of the public grid.

“Supporting the development of new and affordable clean energy homes for low- and middle-income first time buyers is a sustainable model Maryland can build on,” said Governor Larry Hogan.

This project was originally proposed to the Maryland Energy Administration in 2020 by HIP architects Peabody & Fine Architects. The resulting feasibility study was part of MEA’s efforts to support microgrid and other distributed energy resource systems that provide clean, reliable, and flexible energy solutions to organizations and communities in Maryland. This microgrid is an integral part of creating a community that makes affordable, sustainable, and resilient new housing more accessible to the low- to middle-income population of Maryland.

“HIP is focused on developing affordable housing that is both healthy and extremely energy efficient in older neighborhoods in Prince George’s County. This is our second project in Fairmount Heights that focuses on passive design and affordable home ownership, ”said Stephanie Prange-Proestel, Assistant Director of HIP who is the project manager for the development team.

HIP is expected to lay the foundation stone in phase I of the development in autumn 2021. Six single-family houses are being built on vacant land at 60th Place in Fairmount Heights using a modular design to meet the Zero Ready Energy standards of the US Department of Energy and the PHIUS + 2018 standard of the Passive House Institute. These strict requirements ensure energy savings, comfort, health and longevity. HIP will market the homes to first-time buyers who earn 80% or less of the area median income.

The collaboration of community partners looks forward to providing rooftop power generation solutions such as Community Solar to modernize grid technologies in neighborhoods such as Fairmount Heights to meet the goals of state and regional decarbonization. With the BlockEnergy residential microgrid solution from Emera Technologies, households can take advantage of combined renewable energy generation. The community microgrid system also offers reliability and resilience for the neighborhood.

“The BlockEnergy microgrid is a utility-centric system that easily scales to meet new residential growth, and enables utility companies to manage distributed municipal energy with a single control point. This partnership is a great model of what can be done when we work together to leverage new technologies like BlockEnergy to provide affordable, clean, reliable sources of energy to customers in communities across the country, ”said Rob Bennett, President and CEO of Emera Technologies .

Fairmount Heights, Maryland, the second oldest African American majority community in Prince George’s County, is home to nearly 2,000 residents and is a prime location for clean and resilient development. The city has set ambitious goals for 2021 to revitalize vacant land with projects that encourage citizen engagement and attract growth while minimizing its carbon footprint and promoting a green, sustainable future. Working with Pepco, HIP, and Emera Technologies to complete this on-site microgrid project is also another step in Fairmount Heights’ efforts to earn certification from Sustainable Maryland, a program for communities in Maryland to go green, save and save You want to take steps to maintain their quality of life in the long run.

In addition to building the houses, Pepco and Emera Technologies will install the microgrid elements and support the sales infrastructure. In the first three years after the residents move into the new houses, Pepco will run a pilot project together with the other partners to collect data for certain metrics related to the system and potential benefits for the distribution system. Pepco will provide the Maryland Public Service Commission, members of the community and the general public later this year with additional details on the design, goals, proposed metrics and timeline for the three-year pilot.

Affordable access to sustainable energy has been central to communities across America in the face of the growing threat of climate change that can disproportionately affect our most vulnerable communities. The Fairmount Heights Net Zero community will provide replicable, scalable, and affordable solutions that will serve as models for widespread adoption across Maryland. This pilot project underlines the importance of state investments for the positive further development of the local energy network through jointly determined integrative and fair solutions.

Message from the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA)

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