DSD completes 1.85 MW solar project at retirement community in Virginia

DSD NLCS ground mount solar

DSD Renewables and National Lutheran Communities & Services (NLCS) have completed the installation of a 1.85 MW ground-mount solar project in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia. Serving The Village at Orchard Ridge — A National Lutheran Community, the project expands DSD’s footprint to 23 states.

The project also represents a significant step forward in NLCS’s commitment to environmental sustainability and achieving 100% clean, renewable energy usage across its communities. The installation will meet 85% of The Village at Orchard Ridge’s energy needs by producing an estimated 2,396 MWh of energy per year for the retirement community.

“In the face of growing climate change concerns, it’s increasingly important that organizations like NLCS take the lead in demonstrating environmental stewardship, and we’re proud to have been a part of it,” said David Eisenbud, senior director of origination at DSD. “In this new market for DSD, our team brought ingenuity and rigor to every step in the process, and now we look forward to seeing the positive impact it will have on residents at The Village at Orchard Ridge and the surrounding community.”

Construction for the project began in July 2022. Not only was this project in a new market for DSD, but solar also was a newer generation asset class for the local utility. The project was met with challenges, but DSD worked closely with NLCS and the local utility to provide innovative solutions throughout the process: overcoming interconnection limitations; designing a solution that complimented the aesthetics of the Life Plan Community; as well as ensuring that the construction and development process had minimal disruption to the community’s 300-plus residents.

“We believe that ‘Leadership by Doing’ is the best way to make a meaningful impact on our community,” said Richard Mazza, chief financial officer and executive VP of business planning and development for NLCS. “This project is a testament to that mindset. Not only does it reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower energy costs, but it also gives our residents an opportunity to be proactive in environmental initiatives. We’re happy to serve as a model to other Life Plan Communities of what’s possible when it comes to what many non-profits may consider beyond their reach or expertise. The team at DSD brought the expertise and creative partnership we needed to bring our sustainability vision to fruition.”

NLCS is a faith-based, not-for-profit ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s (ELCA) Delaware-Maryland, Metropolitan Washington, D.C., and Virginia synods, serving people of all beliefs. NLCS partners with older adults and their families to provide solutions for successful aging through retirement communities and in-home service options.

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