Housing Authority of San Bernardino Marks Completion of Solar Power Installation Built by Helio Energy Solutions to Benefit Low-Income Families with Free Solar Energy
Southern California Edison (SCE) awarded its first and largest Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing (MASH) Track 2 Grant of $1,840,000 to The Housing Authority of the County of San Bernardino (HACSB) yesterday at a “70 & Solar” celebration. The presentation took place at the Maplewood Homes affordable housing community, home to over 1100 residents. The event focused attention on the innovative “green” project which incorporates solar retrofits atop 100 of the community’s rooftops, green job training and creation as well as ongoing solar production monitoring and green outreach.
65 residents, community members, and representatives of SCE, HACSB, San Bernardino city council members and Helio Energy Solutions, the solar
installation firm on the project, all gathered in the community center to applaud the completion of the “green” project and HACSB’s 70th anniversary. The celebration included the presentation of a $1,840,000 solar program rebate check by SCE to Susan Benner, HACSB’s President/CEO.
“We extend a warm welcome to the Housing Authority into the solar community,” said Aileen Lagbao, Program Manager, MASH & Solar Thermal for Southern California Edison, as she presented the grant check.
“The MASH Track 2 award has provided employment for our residents and local businesses. Families at the site have also been learning about conservation measures including the benefits of solar power and conserving energy,” said Benner.
100% of the clean energy generated from the solar power system will benefit residents at this affordable housing community. An average family at Maplewood Homes spends $572 annually on electricity. Community-wide the average cost saving from the solar power generated energy will be $166 per unit per year, or about 30%.
HACSCB worked with Helio Energy Solutions in the development of the grant proposal, engineering and construction of the solar power system and development and delivery of the educational, training and Internet components of the program. A solar and energy efficiency seminar was presented to residents as part of the program by Tom Millhoff, Vice President of Business Development at Helio Energy Solutions.
“This is part of a larger more comprehensive strategy the Housing Authority is developing for energy management. It’s our intention to reduce energy and water use across our housing portfolio, which today includes over 3,000 units of affordable, market rate and senior housing,” explained Benner.
This project is the first of many solar installations that the Housing Authority is pursuing to show its’ commitment to implementing green initiatives not only to increase sustainability and save energy, but also to provide employment opportunities for its residents in the growing green-building industry. Helio Energy Solutions hired two residents and one community member giving them the opportunity to learn a new trade and gain solar industry expertise.
The MASH Track 2 funds supported the installation of a 302 kilowatt (kW) DC solar photovoltaic facility on 98 residential homes and 2 community buildings at Maplewood Homes. 85% of the clean energy production will go to residents and 15% will be channeled through common area energy savings to help fund on-site employment. The solar facility will offset over 1500 kilowatt hours (kWh) per unit annually.
Maplewood Homes is an affordable housing community located at 1738 West 9th Street, San Bernardino, CA. It was built in the late ‘40’s and has undergone several renovations.
“I lived here on 10th street and played here as a child. The transformation at this community is marvelous,” said San Bernardino Councilmember, Rikke Van Johnson in his event presentation. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Helio Energy Solutions ‘s Tom Millhoff said, “HACSB’s demonstrated outstanding initiative, creativity and financial savvy in developing this solar project in conjunction with a major energy efficiency retrofit and property upgrades at the affordable housing community of Maplewood Homes. The result is substantially improved living environment for residents, reduced living expenses, and a shining legacy that sets the ‘green standard’ for other Housing Authorities.”