San Diego, Calif. (July 26, 2016) — The White House last week identified Community HousingWorks (CHW) as a key partner in helping to achieve President Barack Obama’s new goal to bring 1 gigawatt of solar energy to low- and moderate-income families by 2020.
CHW — a San Diego-based, nonprofit affordable housing developer — has committed to install 3.5 megawatts of solar energy in its affordable housing communities by 2020 as part of the Obama administration’s new Clean Energy Savings for All initiative.
CHW has already installed 2.9 megawatts of capacity in more than half of its 36 affordable communities. By the end of this year, CHW plans to complete installations at six more communities, bringing the total number of solar-powered apartments to 2,342, and meeting its goal for President Obama’s initiative.
“We’re very proud of the solar contributions we’ve made toward President Obama’s goal. San Diego is leading the way and CHW is leading in San Diego,” said Sue Reynolds, President and CEO of Community HousingWorks. “More importantly, we’re proud of our energy achievements because of the positive impacts they have on our environment and the people who live in our communities.”
CHW’s effort is made possible by its partnership with Everyday Energy, a Carlsbad-based national leader in financing, designing and installing solar systems for multifamily affordable housing communities. Everyday Energy works with SolarCity to offer a solar service agreement that allows CHW to install solar energy systems with no upfront costs. The financing model includes savings from the California MASH program and the Federal Investment Tax Credit.
The White House announcement of the new 1-gigawatt nationwide goal this week is a ten-fold expansion of the original target of 100 megawatts set in Obama’s 2014 Climate Action Plan. CHW played a significant role in helping reach that 100 megawatts target well in advance of the 2020 deadline.
The solar energy installations at CHW properties offset the electrical loads of both common areas and tenant-occupied spaces. Tenants in CHW’s solar-powered communities see a direct economic benefit as a result of the solar installations. For example, in Poway, the solar installation at CHW’s Park View Terrace community cut residents’ energy bills by half, from $35.73 a month to $15.28 a month, on average. CHW itself has saved over $10,000 a year in operating costs at Park View Terrace thanks to the solar installations, which also helps the company keep rents low for families.
“The success of installing shared solar to benefit multiple tenant meters with a single large system is now being used as a national model to brig the benefits of renewable energy to all Americans,” said Everyday Energy CEO Scott Sarem. “Everyday Energy has been tasked by the U.S. Department of Energy to share its experience with leaders like Community HousingWorks to spur adoption of solar in multifamily affordable housing complexes nationwide.”