Boston Medical Center Health System Announces First-In-The-Nation Program: Clean Power Prescription

The new pilot puts the physical, economic and environmental health of BMC patients at the forefront by offering reduced utility bills for existing patients who qualify for solar credits

BOSTON, Oct. 16, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Boston Medical Center Health System (BMCHS) today announced a first-in-the-nation pilot program: Clean Power Prescription, which enables BMC providers to write patients a prescription for a reduced utility bill using renewable energy. The program, made possible by the recent installation of solar panels on BMC’s rooftop, will support the physical, economic and environmental health of BMC patients and bring low-income households the benefits of cleaner, less expensive renewable solar power.  

“For decades Boston Medical Center Health System has been focused on advancing a model of care that looks holistically at the health of our patients and extends beyond traditional medicine to include critical social factors of health such as inadequate housing, food insecurity, barriers to economic mobility and climate change, all of which disproportionally impacts the communities we serve,” said Alastair Bell, MD, MBA, President and CEO of BMCHS. “Through Clean Power Prescription we will directly support the health of our patients and community while helping to reduce energy-related financial stresses and provide greater peace of mind at home, which we know can support overall wellness in their lives.”

To facilitate the introduction of Clean Power Prescription, BMC recently installed a 365-kilowatt solar array on the roof of its newly renovated administrative building at 960 Mass Avenue, located in an environmental justice zone. Through virtual net metering facilitated by Eversource, an energy provider and key partner, and by the SMART program developed by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, BMCHS will allocate energy credits to individual patient homes, which will have a direct reduction on the patient’s electric bills.

During the pilot phase, 80 households with eligible patients in BMC’s Complex Care Management program will receive monthly credits averaging $50 per month, for a total of roughly $600 in savings per household per year. That represents a reduction of approximately 30 percent off the cost of the average Bostonian’s annual electrical bill.1

Clean Power Prescription is made possible by the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act’s “Low Income Communities Bonus Credit,” a tax credit incentivizing solar projects that direct clean energy to low-income households. To our knowledge, BMCHS is the first healthcare system in the nation to leverage this IRA tax credit to bring renewable power to patients experiencing energy insecurity. Clean Power Prescription serves as a national model of a novel application of the IRA incentives.

“When people can’t afford the cost of running their air conditioner, they can be exposed to extreme heat, or they might under-use treatments like CPAP or nebulizers that rely on electricity,” said Anna Goldman, MD, MPH, MPA, a primary care physician who created and co-founded Clean Power Prescription at BMCHS with Robert Biggio, Senior Vice President and Chief Sustainability & Real Estate Officer. “Through this innovative program, we are able to directly improve patients’ health, while providing a healthier environment and economic mobility opportunities for the communities we serve. Our program also helps to spread the benefits of cheaper, less-polluting renewable power more equitably as we work toward decarbonizing our electrical grid.”

BMC is inviting local businesses, real estate holders, and institutions to support Clean Power Prescription by contributing renewable energy credits to our patients. Companies and institutions interested in participating can use existing solar installations or develop new arrays. By contributing at least 50% of the credits generated by an array to Clean Power Prescription, partners may become eligible to receive the Low Income Communities Bonus Credit through the Inflation Reduction Act, which significantly offsets the cost of solar array installation. Expanding the program through these partnerships will enable more BMC patients to experience the security of knowing their utilities will remain on throughout the year, while also increasing solar energy generating capacity in the Boston area.

BMC has a longstanding commitment to the overall health of the community – including environmental factors – and has developed several wrap-around programs to address health equity. For over two decades, BMC has helped create food security in the community through the Preventive Food Pantry and Teaching Kitchen which address hunger-related illness and malnutrition among low-income patients. In 2017 BMC opened a Rooftop Farm, which provides fresh, local produce to inpatients, BMC cafeterias, the Teaching Kitchen, and Preventive Food Pantry.

That same year, BMC invested in a high-efficiency cogeneration power plant that has enabled the health system to generate much of its own electricity and heat. BMC previously partnered with MIT and the Post Office Square Redevelopment Corporation on a solar power purchase agreement in North Carolina. To date, BMC’s sustainability-focused efforts have reduced its utility bill by over $8 million per year, money that has been invested back into patient care. In late 2022, BMC opened the BMC Brockton Behavioral Health Center, the nation’s first-ever net-zero behavioral health center. Located in Brockton, Massachusetts, the site uses geothermal heating and renewable energy from its own solar array.

For information on BMC’s sustainability and community-focused efforts visit their website or connect on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

David Kibbe
Director, Communications
[email protected] 


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SOURCE Boston Medical Center

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