A partnership between Community HousingWorks, SolarCity, and Everyday Energy is bringing an additional 2.9 MW of rooftop solar to the affordable housing organization’s rental properties. Solar energy shouldn’t just be for those with enough cash to have their own solar array, as this renewable energy source has the potential to not only reduce harmful emissions and reduce our dependence on dirty energy production, but also to reduce energy costs and help free up much-needed funds for those who are living ‘hand to mouth.’
Community solar projects can enable a bit of renewable energy freedom for those that can’t afford a dedicated solar array (or that rent or don’t own their roof), but the buy-in can still be out of reach for many who rely on affordable housing units for their place of residence. But what if these affordable housing developments included solar as a key element of reducing costs, both for the property managers and for the tenants? That’s starting to happen more and more now, in part due to President Obama’s “call to action on solar deployment” in 2014 to leaders across a number of sectors, including low-income and affordable housing providers.
Community HousingWorks (CHW), which operates 36 affordable housing communities, is working toward the further adoption of solar in this sector, and a recent partnership with Everyday Energy and SolarCity is bringing access to another 2.9 MW of solar capacity to its residents, with CHW able to boast that more than half of its properties now have on-site solar. The 12 new solar arrays that make up the 2.9 MW of additional renewable energy capacity for CHW are financed, designed, and installed by SolarCity, and are used to power not only common areas in the affordable housing communities, but also to provide residents with the option of solar through a virtual net metering program.
Here’s a quick look at the partnership, and how solar can benefit both the management and the residents of affordable housing units:
“With Everyday Energy and SolarCity’s support, the majority of our communities will be operating on renewable energy by the end of this year. That means savings for the working families, seniors, and individuals in our communities and savings for our properties. Lowering energy costs enable us to maintain lower rents and dedicate more resources to meeting our mission of helping people and communities move up in the world.” – Sue Reynolds, CHW President and CEO
One key piece of this partnership is the way that it originated, as neither CHW or SolarCity were the initiators of the project. Instead, it was a third party, Everyday Energy, which brought its expertise to the table to address a number of issues, ranging from regulatory compliance to aspects of the California Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing Program to coordinating utility allowance adjustments and the facilitation of energy audits to ensure that both CHW and its residents are getting “the maximum positive financial impact” from the partnership.
“This partnership is an excellent demonstration of how clean, affordable solar energy can benefit both renters and developers of affordable housing communities. Residents are saving money each month with affordable solar power and securing a lower electricity bill for years into the future, helping them take control of costs. Developers like CHW also save money by going solar and can use funds towards improving communities and prices for renters.” – Jesse Jones, SolarCity’s Vice President of Solar Project Development
Learn more about Everyday Energy’s mission at its website.
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