Lending a HAND on Earth Day


April 26, 2017

HAND volunteers join GRID for a day

HAND volunteers pose before installing solar with GRID Alternatives
HAND volunteers join GRID for a day

Thanks to solar, 94 tenants living in the Parkchester Apartments in Southeast D.C. will soon have fully renovated units, new energy efficient appliances, and a new community space. These renovations are possible because of a new 118 kW solar system that will allow Parkchester Apartments’ management, The NHP Foundation (NHPF), to save up to 50% of its electrical bill costs. Other upgrades include new security lighting, new roofing, a new playground, and a new community center. Through the unit renovations, tenants will enjoy the benefits of brand new appliances, new energy efficient lighting fixtures, and energy efficient HVAC systems, which will in turn lower their electric bill costs.  

GRID Alternatives Mid-Atlantic, is installing the solar on each of Parkchester’s nine buildings, totaling 118 kW of solar. Joining GRID Alternatives Mid-Atlantic staff on Earth Day, the Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers (HAND) volunteers helped lay the foundation for the fourth solar array. 

Two HAND volunteers lay out the foundation for solar panels
Two HAND volunteers lay out the foundation

 The volunteers were from its Braintrust advisory group and GenerationHAND’s leadership initiative, a program designed to help build and support a pipeline of talent within the affordable housing and community development industry. 

“We haven’t done this hands-on volunteering before, so it’s been a great opportunity to work with GRID,” said Heather Rasberry, Executive Director of HAND. For many of the HAND volunteers this was their first time installing solar, and the project would not have been possible without the volunteers’ support. 



Two HAND volunteers pose with impact drills
Reshma and Timi from HAND join GRID on the roof
“With the support of NHPF, GRID Alternatives Mid-Atlantic is extending its services to tenants in Washington, D.C. Low-income communities pay the highest percentage of their income on energy bills, and it’s imperative that we make sure clean energy benefits reach everyone,” said Nicole Steele, Executive Director of GRID Alternatives Mid-Atlantic. As a model for future projects, HAND, NHPF, and GRID Alternatives Mid-Atlantic look forward to expanding solar access and green building renovation to other communities across D.C.

See more pictures from the solar installation here.