State’s first solar project on low-income housing completed

earth-newSecure Futures, LLC, a developer of solar energy for non-profit institutions in education and other fields, announced today that it has completed installing a 34-kilowatt solar photovoltaic array on the roof of a low-income housing apartment building in Harrisonburg. This installation is the first solar energy system on low-income housing in the state of Virginia.

Now operational, the solar energy system will generate just over 45,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year and will offset electrical usage at the Polly Lineweaver apartments by nearly 6% annually. The a 60-unit low-income housing property is owned and managed by the Harrisonburg Redevelopment and Housing Authority. Consisting of 112 photovoltaic panels with a capacity of 315 watts per panel and manufactured by Helios Solar Works of Milwaukee, WI, the rooftop solar system is not visible from street level.

Michael Wong, Executive Director of the Authority, said that, “This is clean energy that makes good financial sense. The money saved by generating some of our own electricity through solar power will help Harrisonburg to continue to provide high-quality affordable housing in a cost-effective way. As budgets are likely to remain tight at all levels of government for the foreseeable future, we hope that housing agencies in other cities will consider not only the environmental impacts but the economic benefits of solar power.”

Under the customer self-generation agreement with Secure Futures, the Authority will generate its own power at a rate below what it would otherwise pay to the Harrisonburg Electric Commission, saving $135,000 in avoided electricity costs over the 35-year service life of the solar panels.

The project was partially funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Energy America Program. Mid-Valley Electric, a Harrisonburg-based contractor, performed electrical work on the project, while Secure Futures of Staunton oversaw the system’s financing, planning and implementation.

Dr. Tony Smith, CEO of Secure Futures, said that, “Planning the project earlier this year allowed the Authority to save money by locking in lower prices for solar panels ahead of a recent spike in international demand that doubled panel prices in many markets. Good timing by Michael Wong and the board of the Authority allowed us to use high-quality American-made equipment for less than the cost of panels from China.”

If the Authority elects to purchase the system after five years, it could save even more money on electricity, especially given projected future increases in the cost of power from electric utilities. The panels will also generate renewable energy credits that the Authority could use in the future to achieve additional savings.

 

About Secure Futures

Secure Futures, LLC designs, develops and finances distributed solar solutions with and for tax-exempt entities to reduce their electricity costs and to protect against future grid price increases through Solar Services Agreements. Secure Futures is an equal opportunity employer based in Staunton, VA, and may be found on-line athttp://www.securefutures.us.

 

About Harrisonburg Redevelopment and Housing Authority

The Harrisonburg Redevelopment and Housing Authority is a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia created pursuant to Title 36 of the Code of Virginia.  The Authority works to promote adequate and affordable housing economic opportunity and a suitable living environment free from discrimination; and to foster redevelopment of  blighted areas to ensure the economic, social and housing vitality of our community.  See website at http://www.harrisonburgrha.com.

 
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