The Denver Housing Authority has constructed a 2 megawatt ground-mounted community solar garden in Aurora, Colorado. It’s the nation’s first community solar project owned by a housing authority, and the largest low-income community solar garden in Colorado.
Financing includes investments made through the Enterprise Community Loan Fund’s Impact Note which were used to provide a 15-year loan of $2.4 million to the Denver Housing Authority.
The 10-acre community solar garden will provide enough electricity to serve more than 500 homes and reduce energy expenses for residents at Denver Housing Authority’s properties. The project supports the City of Denver in meeting its 2020 sustainability goals. The City aims to reduce its energy consumption by 20 percent and double the amount of renewable energy it is producing by 2020.
The solar garden will provide hands-on solar job training and employment opportunities for Denver Housing Authority residents. Partner GRID Alternatives Colorado will provide the job training and employment for residents interested in working in the solar industry. Thus far, DHA has enrolled 10 residents in a solar training program during the installation, with the goal of hiring one maintain the facility. This solar job training program will be open to other affordable housing providers and housing authorities in the Denver metro area.
The Denver Housing Authority is a housing corporation with a portfolio of over 11,000 units and housing choice vouchers, providing affordable housing to more than 26,000, from very low-, low- and middle-income individuals representing over 10,000 families.
In addition to the Enterprise Community Loan Fund debt financing, Monarch Private Capital is providing Solar Investment Tax Credit equity to help finance the project.