Solar projects on multifamily buildings are always tricky. Affordable housing projects are doubly tricky, and require groups like Asheville, N.C.’s Mountain Housing Opportunities (MHO), the Housing Authority of the City of Asheville to prioritize them and drive them forward.
This week those two groups celebrated the energization of four new solar arrays at Maple Crest at Lee Walker Heights, an affordable housing apartment property in downtown Asheville. MHO and Asheville Housing partnered with Pisgah Energy and Eagle Solar & Light to design, develop and install the roof-mounted solar arrays totaling 176 kWdc/144 kWac.
Serving as on-site electrical generation for the apartment complex, the renewable energy produced by the arrays will help offset the energy usage of four apartment buildings.
These buildings now have a total of 425 solar panels that will augment their power. The systems will produce approximately 243,372 kWh of renewable energy annually, offsetting over 172 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year. This impact is equivalent to the annual energy usage of 22 homes or driving a 2021 Tesla Model 3 coast-to-coast over 390 times.
Asheville Housing has invested more than $10 million in energy efficiency improvements in its communities over the last 15 years, but this is the first major solar PV initiative.
“We are proud of this work, which reduces both our carbon footprint and operating costs, to keep our communities affordable,” said Executive Director David Nash.
This is the third solar installation in affordable housing for Mountain Housing Opportunities, which installed similar, though smaller, systems at East Haven Apartments in Swannanoa and Eagle Market Place in downtown Asheville last year. MHO has also previously installed two solar thermal systems.
“Many thanks to the NC Housing Finance Agency for providing the supplemental funding that covered the expense of this installation,” said MHO Executive Director Scott Dedman.
Pisgah Energy was the lead designer and developer and worked in collaboration with Eagle Solar & Light to provide construction services for the project. According to Evan Becka, President and Senior Project Developer at Pisgah Energy, “It’s been a pleasure working with MHO, Asheville Housing and Eagle Solar & Light on this project. We believe that solar is for everyone, so it means a great deal to have played a part in bringing solar power to Maple Crest Apartments.”
Eagle Solar & Light installed the project utilizing Q-Cell 425W Modules, SolarEdge Inverters and PanelClaw’s flat roof racking system.
“It was an honor to install the solar arrays at this site. At the end of the day, we often have a great sense of accomplishment from what we do but knowing who would benefit really made this project special. Having reduced energy bills due to solar makes it even better.” said Michael Churchman, Eagle Solar & Light’s Chief Operations Officer, “We look forward to helping more of Asheville move toward the aggressive sustainability goals set by our leaders.”
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