Affordable housing provider Homes First recently joined Olympia Community Solar’s Hummingbird Community Solar project, a 100-kilowatt program built on the roof of the Hands-on Children’s Museum in Olympia, WA. Homes First celebrated its 30th anniversary by partaking in a program that’s dedicated to utilizing renewable energy to power an educational venue.
The Hummingbird Community Solar project was conceived earlier this year as one of Washington’s largest community solar projects. 297 solar panels atop the children’s museum are expected to result in a cost-savings of $500,000 across 40 years of production. The remaining units of the 800 total were open for subscribers to partake in solar generation and utilization. Homes First will tap into the solar project to help sustain its drive to provide its affordable housing with solar energy to reduce maintenance costs.
With the help of Puget Sound Energy, Homes First will have solar panels installed on many of its properties. Funding for the first two panels came from a Puget Sound Energy grant. Additional financing is being sought by Homes First, specifically through state-wide funding. The affordable home provider will appeal to state officials to secure funding to complete the solar panel installation for its residents. Homes First currently has 47 properties in its portfolio.
After installation is completed on the first panels, energy cost savings will be passed down to the residents, which consist of adults with developmental disabilities. There is also a benefit to the local community as solar energy reduces carbon emissions, which moves the state of Washington closer to a goal of net-zero carbon emissions.
The Hummingbird Community Solar Project is still looking for subscribers. The buy-in cost is $300 per solar unit, which represents ⅓ of a panel. There are a total of 800 units built atop the children’s museum. According to Olympia Community Solar, each unit is capable of offsetting 150lbs of CO2 emissions.