What is Renewable Energy? According to NRDC, renewable energy comes from natural resources or processes that are constantly replenished. Renewable energy, particularly electrical, is how "net-zero" can be accomplished because it's where the most appropriate emission-balancing technologies exist. Essentially, net-zero means any emissions are balanced by absorbing an equivalent amount from the atmosphere.
Community Solar at Oxon Run Among other benefits, community solar projects enable residents, especially renters, to reduce energy consumption costs by sharing solar power without having to invest in solar panels themselves. With this in mind, Mayor Bowser in partnership with the Department of Energy and Environment created the 2017 Clean Energy Plan (CEP), which includes a 50% increase in the use of renewable energy in DC by 2032. The Clean EnergyAct of 2018picks up where the CEP leaves off and ups the ante, mandating 100% renewable energy by 2032 and a 10% local solar generation requirement by 2041.
The Community Solar at Oxon Runproject aimed to reuse a contaminated District-administered property. Approximately 750 households will be receiving up to $500 in credits to reduce electric bills by about half. One of the biggest challenges for this project was source selection of viable contractors. Ultimately, Grid Alternativeswas selected for project construction with Blackstar Diversified Enterprises (BDE) providing power distribution equipment. BDE's solution included the following:
Diversity and Inclusion in Renewable Energy Like many other STEM-related industries, renewable energy suffers from diversity issues related to both race and gender. In the Solar Industry alone, 88% of Senior Executives are White while only 2% are Black, based on a study done by The SolarFoundationin conjunction with the Solar Energy Industries Association, SEIA. In concert with software and other tech industries, managers cite "pipeline issues" as the reason for such extreme disparities in diversity.
Community Solar at Oxon Run is a major achievement in BDE's repertoire. The company, founded by Hugh Blackwell, a Mechanical Engineering graduate of Howard Universityin DC, is Black-owned and operated. As a former 15 year resident of DC, Hugh realized the positive impact this project would have on the sustainability of African American communities in the rapidly gentrifying city.
BDE is a system integration and infrastructure lifecycle firm, with sales offices in Baltimore and Nashville, and manufacturing operations in New Orleans. Specializing in UL508 and UL845 distribution equipment along with engineered customization of electrical and traffic control equipment, BDE is positioned perfectly for a surge in infrastructure spending. Blackstar's vision is Powering the Future of Construction™ with an intense focus on manufacturing hardware for renewable power distribution and process improvement software for small businesses in the public infrastructure sector.