Community Solar and Coronavirus

Posted by Karl Unterlechner on May 26, 2020 6:07:06 PM
Karl Unterlechner


Thanks for checking in to the SaveSolar Blog. We hope you and your family are navigating the Coronavirus crisis safely during this difficult time.

SaveSolar is a Washington D.C. based organization that specializes in developing Community Solar assets. We work with building owners to finance and build solar assets by leasing their rooftops, and we compensate them with long-term revenue. The solar energy we generate gets put back into the utility grid. This energy is then provided through PEPCO at a discounted rate to Residential, Low Income and Community subscribers. Our mission is to help our district reach its renewable energy goal of 100% renewable by 2032, and to lower the cost of electricity for all.

Since the recent coronavirus epidemic and the lockdowns we have collectively experienced, global oil markets have dipped due to lowered demand for consumer travel and transportation services. While it is expected that this will recover gradually as states reopen and a vaccine becomes available, the recent crash has prompted investors globally to take a closer look at their portfolios and consider the sustainability of oil as a long-term investment strategy.

Renewable energy generation provides investors with secure long-term revenues while engaging in positive sustainability impact investments. Beyond this, our solar industry is currently bolstered by Federal tax incentives and state-based Renewable Portfolio Standards. With state budgets spread thin due to lost tax revenues and costs associated with the pandemic response, the current lack of federal support for states puts at risk the budgets otherwise allocated to renewable energy.

We hope that the next round of coronavirus stimulus includes support for states in order to protect budgets providing funding for many renewable energy programs nationally.

Our operations in the District have been somewhat insulated from the crisis. While all our staff are working from home, and it will be sometime before we anticipate being able to resume normal office operations, we have demonstrated not just to ourselves, but many other companies that remote working can effectively sustain community solar operations where possible.

Some property owners across the District have had more time away from their day-to-day operations to consider and execute on installing solar, reaping the benefits of immediate increases in cash flow through rooftop leasing, ownership, or PACE financing. The District still has the most lucrative financial benefits of anywhere in the nation, and while solar installation is classified as an essential business, work can thankfully continue on design, engineering, permitting and construction services.

Revenues from solar installation can help businesses recover from the crisis, and lower their operational costs for the future, all the while supporting the District’s renewable energy goals.

At SaveSolar, our work with the Department of Energy and Environment has seen us engage with community members as part of the ‘Solar for All’ program over the past three years. We have seen the benefits of our Community Solar subscriptions provide hundreds of D.C. residents with a 50% reduction on their energy bill for the next 15 years.

We are all spending more time at home these days, and using more energy during this period as a result.  With a focus on income qualified, low-income customers, these subscriptions are providing the most needy families with energy cost relief.

After participating in four “Solar for All” projects in the past three years and recently being awarded a “Solar for All project” by the DOEE, we are always working hard to deliver these projects on time, and to continue providing Washington D.C. residents with access to free electricity through this unique program. 

We are proud to be a part of the DMV solar industry and grateful to serve the District as an essential service. As a team we wish you health and happiness through the crisis.

Karl Unterlechner

Chief Executive Officer

SaveSolar Corporation



Topics: Community Solar, DC Solar, SaveSolar, coronavirus