Mayor Muriel Bowser
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) wants the District to use more green energy. On Aug. 12 she convened a press conference on the roof of the Frank D. Reeves Municipal Center in Northwest with officials of her administration. She, along with Tommy Wells, director of the District Department of Energy and Environment (DDOEE), were there to announce her clean energy initiatives which include solarizing residences and businesses. Bowser is following President Obama’s urge to Americans to use green energy sources, such as solar, when possible.
“Washington, D.C. is answering the president’s call by making the District a greener and healthier city,” the mayor said. “And we’re doing it in a way that puts residents first and saves their hard earned tax dollars. We want to show the rest of the country what’s possible through commitment, collaboration and creativity.”
Bowser has charged Wells with promoting solar energy to District residents. “Over the coming weeks, the Department of Energy and Environment will announce several initiatives utilizing solar power to help District residents reduce their power bills to lowering financial barriers and expanding renewable energy access to District-based small businesses through innovative policy-driven public-private investment,” he said.
He said a program to solarize the homes of 130 low income residents is already in place. “Those residents will be in Wards 5, 7, and 8,” Wells said. “The process is simple: fill out an application, the DDOEE will verify income, look at the house, and make plans to install the solar energy system.” Wells said that small businesses can go through a similar process.
Robert Robinson, vice president for outreach for DC SUN, a pro-solar power organization, told the AFRO that many residents in eastern Washington are using the Low Income Energy Assistance Program because they need assistance in paying their electric bills and that solar homes are more energy efficient.
Darlene Williams, a Deanwood resident, likes the solar panels on her roof. “Solar helps me save money with my energy bills,” she said. Williams said in the winter, her bills range from $15-$75 a month, and during the summer months, because her cooling system is on automatic, her bills are about $195. “If I didn’t have solar, in the winter my bills would be about $100 and in the summer $400,” she said.