Local nonprofit Glass City Community Solar is among a partnership of solar developers and operators looking to provide renewable energy to a Section 8 apartment building in North Toledo. Since solar typically requires costly panel installations, this project will allow the low-income housing development to benefit from clean energy.
As more and more cities take part in clean energy initiatives, there is a greater demand to ensure all residents have access to solar and renewable energy. The project, built from a partnership between Glass City Community Solar, First Solar, and Chart House Energy, will generate electricity to power a federally subsidized housing complex owned and operated by Vistula Management Co. The complex is located at 629 Locust St. in Toledo, OH.
The building houses 50 separate apartments for low-income families and senior citizens. To deliver solar to these residents, Glass City, First Solar, and Chart House are spending an estimated $105,000. The cost includes the installation of solar panels on the building’s rooftop, which will then generate power to keep the apartments running.
According to owner and president of Chart House Energy, Rob Rafson, solar has traditionally been for the wealthy. This initiative, however, will provide low-income households the option to participate in clean energy. Not only will this benefit the tenant, it is a step toward reaching net-zero carbon omissions in the state of Ohio.
Though the partnership is solid, there are challenges ahead. First and foremost, Glass City and its partners will have to deal with local utility companies. Often, they see community solar projects as a threat and competition. This may lead to issues that will require legislation to allow the project to move forward.
The group was established in 2017 and started from a grant of $50,000 from the Department of Energy’s “Solar in Your Community Challenge” from autumn 2016. The money was a sizable step in the right direction for achieving solar energy for all.