By Barbra Murray, Contributing Writer
San Diego, Calif.–It is not every day that affordable housing developments get fitted with solar panels, but Everyday Energy is doing its part to make the practice more common. The company has just completed the Phase II installation of photovoltaic panels at Hacienda Townhomes in San Diego under the California Solar Initiative’s Multi-family Affordable Solar Housing (MASH) program.
Located at 350 17th Street in downtown San Diego, the Hacienda Townhomes apartment community is owned by the San Diego Community Housing Corporation (SDCHC) and first opened its doors to low-income residents in 1994. Everyday Energy–a full-service solar energy integrator specializing in photovoltaic solar and energy efficiency projects for non-profit, government, multi-family and commercial applications–worked hand in hand with SDCHC, the California Center for Sustainable Energy and San Diego Gas & Electric to bring the solar installation to the 52-unit affordable housing property.
“At our organization, we had been wanting to move toward trying to build a sustainable environment for our residents and it just so happened that CSI had the MASH program available,” Kimberly Paul, vice president of community development with SDCHC, tells MHN.
Everyday Energy has a proprietary Solar Service Agreement that allows such projects to take place with minimal, if any, upfront investment by the property owner. The MASH program supplies solar rebates to mitigate installation costs.
The solar system Everyday Energy installed at Hacienda Townhomes will save residents a notable amount of money in utility costs by producing approximately 86,000 KWh of energy annually. “In these economically difficult times, this definitely helps offset the costs residents would normally incur,” Paul said. “They don’t have to spend every dime on utilities; they don’t have to choose between keeping the lights on and buying their children shoes.”
Hacienda Townhomes’ new solar panels have an aesthetic benefit as well. “They actually look really nice,” Paul notes. “They make us look sophisticated and high-tech in a low-income neighborhood.”
Everyday Energy is in the process of wrapping up MASH projects at two other affordable housing properties in the San Diego area–Town and Country Apartments and the Torrey Apartments–and the company is under contract to begin fitting four other affordable housing communities with solar panels. “The solar projects we will install this year under the MASH program will provide solar benefits to 458 low-income families,” Scott Sarem, CEO of Everyday Energy, noted in a prepared statement.