Two low-income communities will benefit from the installation of new solar power projects due to the efforts of Boston Community Capital, with financing from Eastern Bank. When they are completed, the amount of solar power associated with the Solar Carve-Out II program for affordable housing in Massachusetts will almost double.
Rooftop solar panels installed at Somerville Community Corporation’s (SCC) St. Polycarp Village development will help the community there save about 14% on its utility bills. They will also help offset electricity costs for units housing families that were homeless at one point.
Ground-mounted solar will provide electricity for 19 affordable housing developments, with slightly over 1,000 units in Cape Cod and New Bedford. The Onset installation is expected to save about 17% on utility bills for the affiliated affordable housing units.
“BCC’s solar project will lower and stabilize at least 85% of the electricity costs for five of our affordable housing developments in Southeastern Mass,” said Toby Ast, Director of Energy Management of Preservation of Affordable Housing.
For both of the projects, it is expected the production of electricity from solar power will help protect against electricity price surges.
Boston Community Capital has been financing solar power projects for affordable housing developments and nonprofit organizations since 2008. For example, at the Greater Boston Food Bank, about $25,000 a year is saved due to the installation of about 1,100 solar panels courtesy of BCC. That savings can be used to better serve local people in need of food.
BCC has a list of solar projects it has developed here.
It started in the 1980s with just several thousand dollars, but, to date, it has invested over one billion dollars in Boston area community development projects.
Of course, solar power is a great investment now, because the price has dropped dramatically from the point it was at just 6 years ago. Lowering utility bills for affordable housing units is a worthy cause — solar power has been more associated with people who had the money to purchase their own residential systems, but sunlight is obviously available to everyone.
Image Credit: BCC