August 19, 2021

County Executive Elrich and County Leaders Launch New Community Solar Project at Paddington Square Apartments in Silver Spring

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich this week joined County Council Vice President Gabe Albornoz, Councilmember Will Jawando, State Delegate Lorig Charkoudian, Montgomery County Green Bank CEO Tom Deyo, Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission (HOC) Director Kayrine Brown and Groundswell CEO Michelle Moore to launch the County’s first community solar project that will directly impact low- and moderate-income families. Representatives from Sunlight General Capital, SunCatch and Pepco also participated in the event at Paddington Square Apartments in Silver Spring, which is an affordable housing community.

The community solar project is the first in Montgomery County to fall under the Low and Moderate Income (LMI) set aside of the Public Service Commission’s community solar pilot. Subscriptions from 30 percent of the project will benefit LMI households and save them $500 annually on their energy bills.

To view the event at Paddington Square, go to

“This is a major residential project with the intentionality that the improvements do not result in the displacement of tenants,” said County Executive Elrich. “For far too long, equity has been missing from our energy reduction goals. Since taking office, we have focused this government to make policy decisions and investments through an ‘equity’ and ‘sustainability’ lens. Projects like this will be a model for more to come. I appreciate the work and collaboration of the Montgomery County Green Bank, the Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission, Groundswell, Sunlight General Capital, SunCatch and Pepco for this innovative project.”

The Community Solar at Paddington Square project will offer 91 subscriptions to households that want to be a part of an equitable clean energy future, with 28 of the subscriptions set aside for low- and moderate-income households.

Any Maryland resident who receives a Pepco utility bill can sign up for the program. Everyone who subscribes will receive a monthly credit on their Pepco bill.

“We are excited to see this equitable community solar project come online to offer the opportunity for all residents to have access to renewable energy,” said Green Bank CEO Deyo. “The collaboration with Pepco, the County and the project partners has made this effort possible to deliver benefits to County residents and to support the County’s drive to meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals.”

This $850,000 project is being erected on the roofs of Paddington Square Apartments—a Montgomery Housing Opportunities Commission property. The project will save 235 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, enough to power 28 homes or remove 51 cars from roads for an entire year. The Housing Opportunities Commission is leasing the roof for $1 to the solar developer.

Montgomery County Green Bank is the investor and brings its lower-cost capital to support the ability of the project to achieve the LMI household component. The Green Bank will invest about $450,000 in the project from its equity from the Exelon-Pepco merger funds.

By using Groundswell’s innovative SharePowerTM model, the Community Solar at Paddington Square project equitably expands solar access by putting income-qualified households first to receive solar savings. As a result, the 28 “empowered” households can enroll to SharePowerTM and receive a no-cost community solar subscription to that could cut their electricity bill in half.

“Solar energy is abundant, and community solar is a perfect way to equitably share power and savings with our neighbors,” said Groundswell CEO Moore.

Earlier this summer, County Executive Elrich released Montgomery County’s Climate Action Plan—one of the most ambitious climate plans in the nation. The Climate Action Plan identifies 86 actions that the County must address to eliminate greenhouse gases by 2035 and increase climate resilience. From the plan, 75 actions are currently underway. Strategies outlined in the plan focus on those who are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, as well as opportunities to enhance racial equity.

Last week, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a sobering report noting that human-induced climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe.