Friday, June 10, 2011

Solar Photo-Voltaic Works for Affordable Housing

By Michelle Winters
Senior Manager, Green Strategies
NeighborWorks America

Today NeighborWorks America's new CEO Eileen Fitzgerald is in San Diego to celebrate the ribbon cutting for a new solar installation on the Las Serenas apartments, owned by NeighborWorks network member Community HousingWorks. Community HousingWorks is well-known for its award winning Solara new construction apartments built in 2007. That project was the first apartment community to be fully powered by the sun, and it also includes many other community-friendly green features such as a Learning Center with a full Green Curriculum for residents and their children.

Now, Community HousingWorks, with funding from the state of California and NeighborWorks America, has continued its solar innovation with one of its existing properties in San Diego, Las Serenas apartments. The project was the first project funded through the California Center for Sustainable Energy's Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing (MASH) Track 2 program, which reserves funding for projects that include expanded tenant benefits like those provided by Community HousingWorks. In this project, they used a approach called Virtual Net Metering to ensure that tenants receive the benefits of the solar system, rather than having all benefits go to the property owner. The project is also benefiting residents by connecting them to job training related to the solar installation and ongoing maintenance of the systems.

NeighborWorks is proud to have funded "green" renovations to Las Serenas as part of last year's $35 million Capitol Funds for the Rehabilitation of Affordable Housing grants for NeighborWorks network members.