Photo by John Hallam/Flickr.

Baltimore-based community solar company WeSolar and the University of Maryland Medical System are teaming up to build a solar farm in Baltimore City that will provide power for the university system and city residents.

The University of Maryland Medical System has committed to paying $10,000 per month for up to 18 months to help construct the solar farm at a location yet to be determined. 

“Partnering with WeSolar is an incredible opportunity for the system to engage with a local company that, like us, is focused on ensuring the vitality of our community,” said Mohan Suntha, president and CEO of UMMS, in a statement. 

“Not only does this project make good business and economic sense for our system, but it is also an opportunity to demonstrate our responsibility as anchor institutions in the communities in which we are privileged to serve,” he said. 

Across the U.S., underserved consumers pay significantly more for energy than middle and upper class consumers. 

Low-income households experience a higher “energy burden,” meaning they spend a larger portion of their income on home energy costs than other households. According to a report by the U.S. Department of Energy, low-income households face an energy burden three times higher than other households. 

WeSolar aims to reduce the energy burden in under-resourced communities by providing affordable access to local community solar. Community solar programs allow consumers to purchase shared solar from a local community project instead of taking on the costly expense of installing equipment in their own homes. 

“Our company’s mission is about equity,” said WeSolar CEO Kristal Hansley in a statement, “Our main goal is to reduce the bills of low-to-moderate-income customers by at least 25%.” 

Once the farm is constructed, UMMS team members who earn less than $67,000 will have access to solar energy at their residences from the BGE grid at a discount of up to 25 percent.

The farm will generate eight megawatts of energy, and the University of Maryland Medical System has committed to purchasing up to 50 percent, or four megawatts.