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New Year Means New Programs and New Opportunities

From the Desk of the Executive Director

While the start of the New Year was less celebratory than in years past, for multiple reasons, 2021 holds many new opportunities and the launch of a new program worth getting excited about.

I’m very excited about the opportunity for Community Solar and the rules for it that are now becoming clearer. LEAP’s new Solarize Program Manager – Katie VanLangen (read more about her later in the newsletter) – will be leading the development of LEAP’s capability as a subscriber organization. Being a subscriber organization allows us to partner with solar developers and offer the clean, renewable power generated from their projects to our low-income weatherization clients. We hope to be able to offer a split rate structure that can ensure a lower rate for our low-income clients while keeping market-rate clients at, or slightly below, what they currently pay for their electricity. Stay tuned as we develop this offering more over the coming months and let us know if you’re interested in collaborating and/or subscribing.

Only given the green light earlier this month, the product of HB-2789 passed back in 2019 – a new low-income energy-efficiency program – is also now available. This program was designed to help ensure low-income residents are not overly burdened with potential electricity rate increases from the deployment of renewable energy by Dominion, and offers many new, “deeper” energy-efficiency measures that were previously not offered by a regulated program. Those measures include: baseboard heating replacement (a space heating option long known to be inefficient), full HVAC system replacement, and an increased scope of health and safety measure costs that can be covered, reducing the number of deferrals or households we can’t help because a roof needs to be patched first, for example.

Instead of being known as “HB-2789”, a new name of “HVAC, Health and Safety Program” and the related acronym “HVC” were created. I’ll let you decide if we can do a better job naming/acronym’ing these programs… LEAP is now offering this program to its clients and will “braid” it or combine it with the other utility and municipal low-income energy-efficiency programs we offer to ensure households get the most possible from an engagement with LEAP.

Here’s to the new programs and opportunities that 2021 brings us. Let’s definitely take advantage of them!

Regards, Chris

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