Solar arrays added to affordable student housing in Minnesota

Four recently completed solar arrays at Riverton Community Housing co-op locations will help the organization advance its mission to provide accessible, affordable student housing. All Energy Solar, a full-service solar energy solution provider, designed and installed the systems to provide clean energy on-site, just as school starts and students fill university housing again.

The properties are owned by Riverton, but operated independently by co-ops, each with unique self-governing bodies, that place value on green and sustainable initiatives. Ultimately, financing partners Blue Flame Energy Finance and DSD Renewables presented a way to deploy solar without the need for up-front investment.

“Riverton Community Housing had a clear vision of seeing this project through from the outset, they just needed the right partners,” said Michael Thalhimer, Director of Business Development at All Energy Solar. “We were proud to support this collaborative effort to bring clean energy to these established student and community housing locations around Minneapolis and the University of Minnesota campus.”

Project details: Energy savings from a total of 400-kW of rooftop solar arrays will help co-ops offset energy on their common area meters. Solar panels were installed at the 4th Street Housing Co-Op (70 kW), the two buildings part of the Franklin Housing Co-Op (85kW and 115kW), and Brook Avenue Housing Co-Op (130 kW).

The project also helps fulfill a simple, but important focus for Riverton co-ops: Doing the right thing. Projected offset for the first year of energy production is expected to be roughly 450,000kWh. The 25-year projected environmental benefits equate to over 7,000 metric tons of CO2 offset, which is equivalent to displacing 7,000,000 pounds of burned coal, planting 190,000 trees, or taking 1,500 gasoline-driven passenger vehicles off the road for a full year.

“The Riverton housing cooperatives have always had a concern for the communities in which they are located and the environment around them. Our co-op members and staff are always looking for ways to reduce our environmental footprint,” Mary Novak, Executive Director to Riverton Community Housing. “Adding solar to our buildings was not only the right thing to do, but was a fairly easy process with our project partners. We hope other multi-family owners will learn about the process and do the same thing.”

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