Fairhaven Housing Authority (FHA) has partnered with Solect Energy and PowerOptions to install a 236-kW solar energy system on the roof of its largest housing complex. The array consists of 630 photovoltaic (PV) panels, which are projected to produce 235,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy annually. FHA anticipates the array will provide up to 40 percent of its facility’s annual electricity, and projects a first-year savings of $15,700 and an estimated $467,000 in savings over the life of the 20-year agreement.
The Fairhaven Housing Authority manages 284 units of state-assisted, affordable housing in Fairhaven, Massachusetts. It had to replace an outdated natural gas system with electric heat at its largest complex. The FHA was concerned that the new electric system would negatively impact its utility budget. The FHA decided to pursue solar, and selected PowerOptions and Solect’s solar program. Under the program, Solect installs, owns, and operates the solar array on the FHA’s roof. Solect then sells the power generated at a fixed rate for a period of 20 years under a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) negotiated by PowerOptions.
“Fairhaven Housing Authority has been very concerned about its rising utility expenses,” said Jean Rousseau, Commissioner, Fairhaven Housing Authority. “The Authority wanted to do everything it could to proactively curtail our growing energy costs, while also being more ecologically responsible. We were able to do something that contributes to the greater good and the savings will allow us to continue to maintain our affordable housing and preserve the properties for future generations.”
FHA has been a PowerOptions member for about 10 years, tapping into the buying consortium to help them contract for the lowest electric and natural gas pricing.
“Having been members of the consortium for years, we were confident that PowerOptions would be our best resource to pursue an on-site solar project that would be highly beneficial to our bottom line,” said Krisanne Sheedy, Executive Director, Fairhaven Housing Authority. “Working with Solect made the process much easier than expected. All of the Solect staff were professional and thorough. They brought a great deal of expertise to the table as they have installed many rooftops systems in all types of settings.”
“We were privileged to work with the Fairhaven Housing Authority,” Alex Keally, Partner and Senior VP of Business Operations at Solect Energy. “We applaud their move to solar and are delighted that the savings they will garner from their solar array will be channelled into more impactful, community-focused programs.”
“At PowerOptions, our mission is to help public entities and nonprofits to save money on energy, so they can focus more resources on pursuing their own important missions,” said PowerOptions President and CEO Cynthia Arcate. “In addition to cost predictability and savings, Fairhaven Housing Authority implemented their solar project without the need for any upfront costs or ongoing maintenance responsibilities.”
The FHA installation posed an added challenge. The complex’s cement roof and the area’s 140-mph wind zone required an alternative solution from a standard roof-mounted PVC system. Solect elected to install the Mouli Engineering SolarPod Crown racking, because of its no-roof-holes design, high wind capability and simplicity. Not having to penetrate the cement roof saved substantially on the amount of labor, time and ultimately cost required for the project.
Jay Simmons, Chairman, Fairhaven Housing Authority added, “It is time to take full advantage of every option. The industry, the expertise — and the savings — should not be ignored any longer.”
News item from Solect