Summer is just around the corner and the sun is already shining on Memphis, TN. Five Memphis teams are moving forward to the next phase of the SunShot Prize: Solar In Your Community Challenge, a Department of Energy initiative aimed at increasing opportunities and access to solar resources in lower-income communities (The State University of New York Polytechnic Institute will administer the Challenge). Memphis is prime real estate for solar projects, thanks both to geography and the long hours of sunlight we get throughout the year. Couple that with a high number of communities living in poverty and in need of cheap power – the SunShot Challenge is a perfect fit for Memphis.
Several Memphis teams worked to submit proposals for the SunShot Challenge, with the following five teams selected to move forward to the next round – Memphis Heritage Solar Uprising, New Chicago Community Partnership Revitalization, Rozelle-Annesdale Community Initiative, AimsSolar and EnLIGHTen Soulsville.
The SunShot Challenge supports teams across the country as they work to develop solar projects and programs and prove that their specific business models can help expand access to underserved communities. A team must be working on a solar project or program that will serve at least 20% low- to moderate-income households (LMI) or 60% non-profits. The Challenge officially began this month and will end in October 2018.
The Grand Prize, $500,000, is expected to be awarded in January 2019 and will go to the team that most effectively demonstrates an innovative and scalable solar model that can help expand access across the United States. Over the course of the entire competition timeline, $5 million in cash prizes and technical assistance will be awarded, including up to $2 million in seed prizes and $2 million in technical assistance.
SACE will provide support to teams in Memphis and across the Southeast throughout the SunShot Challenge competition period and will continue to provide updates as these teams work to increase access to cheap, clean solar energy resources that can help our most vulnerable communities.
All across Tennessee, low-income families are put in a difficult situation due to high energy burdens. The term “energy burden” refers to the portion of household income spent on energy bills. In Tennessee, some residents are paying as much as 20% of their annual income on their energy bill.