The housing authority in Cleveland, Ohio was looking for ways to be greener and realized environmental issues and energy efficiency were important, especially for a nonprofit charged with building clean, safe and affordable housing.
“When the opportunity presented itself to us with this large piece of land, we realized this would be a good time and place for solar,” said Jeffery K. Patterson, CEO of the housing authority.
Carbon Vision built and owns the 4,212-panel solar installation and is selling the electricity to the housing authority through a power purchase agreement, said Michael Simmons, CFO of the housing authority.
The authority will have the option to buy the project from Carbon Vision after 15 and 20 years at a discount. But even with the PPA, Simmons said the nonprofit will save millions of dollars over the life of the array.
“The piece of land it’s on is about 12 acres,” Simmons said. “And the panels take up about half the field.”
He said it’s a brownfield that the housing authority couldn’t use for any other development. And it’s possible the nonprofit could pursue more solar development there in the future.
“The 1.1-megawatt solar field is providing the majority of the energy we need for the administration building,” Simmons said.
At that size, it’s Cleveland’s largest solar array.
And it sets an example for the community and makes a statement, Patterson said. It draws attention to environmental and energy issues and let’s people know solar is a possibility in Cleveland.
The housing authority has also installed solar on one of its developments – Heritage View Homes. The solar there offsets residents’ utility bills.
“We definitely want to look at doing that in other developments down the road,” Patterson said. “We continue to look for opportunities though we don’t have anything set up right now.”