Congressman Bob Filner (D-Calif.) will keynote the Las Serenas solar celebration. A longtime advocate of job creation, economic development and environmental issues, Congressman Filner serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and its subcommittees including Water Resources and Environment and Economic Development. Along with the California Solar Initiative funded MASH grant, a $475,000 federal NeighborWorks grant for related "green" apartment improvements supported the green renovations and contributed to the project financing.
"I'm excited to celebrate the completion of the solar power system at Las Serenas! With the combined resources of federal funding to NeighborWorks America and California Solar funding, we are investing in the community and promoting the development of renewable energy sources in our own backyards," said Congressman Filner.
In November 2009, CHW was awarded the first Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing (MASH) Track 2 grant by the California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE) to install solar energy in the Las Serenas affordable housing community. CHW worked with HelioPower to develop and fulfill the Las Serenas project. The grant funds provide free solar energy to the low-income families at Las Serenas, an affordable rental community located in one of San Diego's poorest neighborhoods. The program also provided residents with job training and educational support on all aspects of sustainable living. The simultaneous "green" apartment improvements grant from federal NeighborWorks funds provided installation of low-e, dual paned windows, water-saving tub and kitchen fixtures, and related kitchen and bath repairs.
"We are proud that the investment of federal funds through NeighborWorks will help increase sustainability, engage residents, and create jobs at Las Serenas," said NeighborWorks America CEO Eileen Fitzgerald, who will address event attendees at the solar celebration today.
Community HousingWorks President and CEO Sue Reynolds said, "As a leader in sustainable development, CHW knows the value of creating a safe and affordable place for families to live and thrive while at the same time building exceptional and eco-conscious apartments. Today, Las Serenas has accomplished both of these goals!"
Las Serenas is located at 4352 Delta Street, San Diego, CA 92113. The MASH Track 2 funds supported the installation of a 67.5 kilowatt (kW) DC solar photovoltaic facility with 100% of its production going to tenants using Virtual Net Metering. The solar facility will offset approximately 1,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) per unit annually, and save each tenant over $100 of their anticipated yearly electricity expenses. In addition, with the installation of a performance monitoring system for each inverter, CHW and HelioPower modified the system to offer free wireless internet access to all residents.
The Las Serenas project on the border of National City and San Diego is a shining example of the impact CHW has on communities as the rehabilitation of this 108-unit apartment complex transformed a formerly high-crime block into an attractive safe-harbor anchor in a struggling lower income community.
"CCSE is very proud of this collaboration with the Community Housing Works and HelioPower on this successful effort to bring the benefits of solar energy to families that need financial assistance," said Agnes Stupak, CCSE's Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing program manager. "The project features not only economic benefits, such as reduced utility costs, but also offers education and outreach as well as providing employment opportunities for several tenants during the installation."
At the solar celebration today, CCSE will present CHW with its $412,000 rebate check for their MASH Track 2 initiative at the Las Serenas affordable housing development.
"The Las Serenas project will provide free clean energy, job training and ongoing sustainability education and outreach: It's a win-win-win situation," said Tom Millhoff, HelioPower's Vice President of Business Development. "This project further demonstrates the creative, community-minded capabilities of both Community HousingWorks and The California Center for Sustainable Energy, as well as HelioPower's leadership in developing solar for affordable housing." HelioPower has guided its clients to win the first MASH Track 1 and Track 2 awards, as well as the largest MASH award.
HelioPower provided turnkey solar power financing and construction and augmented the program with wireless internet service for the Las Serenas community. The company also delivered the educational and solar job training programs for the community's tenants. Through the grant program, a system performance monitor was placed in a community room, providing tenants with a clear representation of the solar power system production, CO2 saved, and conservation tips.
About Community HousingWorks
Community HousingWorks is a San Diego non-profit organization that provides a full range of housing options combined with training and support to help people and neighborhoods move up in the world. Community HousingWorks CHW builds and owns beautiful affordable apartments, provides unique first-time homebuyer loans, and provides support and training that strengthens communities and helps provides youth and adults build a wealthier future with tools to build brighter futures. Since its inception in 1982, CHW has served the San Diego County region and in 2004, CHW served over 4,000 individuals, families, and children. In 2010 CHW touched the lives of over 15,000 individuals. CHW is San Diego County's only member of the national NeighborWorks Network®, and in 2003 became a proud affiliate of the National Council of La Raza.
HelioPower is an integrated energy solutions company with nearly 2000 solar and clean energy systems engineered and installed since 2001. We reduce energy costs and develop energy assets by leveraging renewable energy production, demand side management and return on investment strategies for clients in the U.S. and abroad. For more information, visit http://www.HelioPower.com.
About The California Center for Sustainable Energy
The California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE) is a nonprofit organization that helps individuals, businesses, municipalities and others to adopt greener practices and save energy and money through rebates, technical assistance and education. Among the programs CCSE administers for the California Public Utilities Commission are the California Solar Initiative, including the Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing Program and the CSI-Thermal Program in the San Diego Gas & Electric service territory. For more information about solar and workshop registration, visit www.energycenter.org.
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