The District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA), in partnership with NEO LLC, has completed a solar and battery storage system installation at Parkway Overlook, an affordable housing development in Congress Heights, Washington, D.C. The affordable housing development encompasses several multifamily buildings as well as a standalone community center building.
In total, 717-kilowatts of rooftop solar was installed across multiple buildings. A 125-kilowatt/500 kilowatt-hour Energport lithium-ion energy storage system was installed inside the development’s community center. The battery system is connected solely to a 200-kilowatt solar array on the roof of the community center.
In the event of an outage, solar+storage provides reliable backup power to the entire community center for up to 72-hours. The center provides residents with critical services, including heating and cooling, computers, a gym room, a kitchen, and medicine refrigeration facilities. Since the system was installed in May 2019, the solar+storage system has operated through two power outages, ensuring no disruption in services to residents.
In addition to the resilience benefits, the community center’s solar+storage system generates savings through net metering. In fact, solar+storage at the community center is anticipated to offset 100% of the community center’s electric costs through net metering.
The solar on the buildings form a single community solar system, for which 220 tenants and the property owner are subscribers. Community solar is expected to reduce energy costs for residents by 50%, up to $100,000 in total annual savings. Residents who are responsible for their utility bills – about 75% of households – receive a community net-metering credit on their monthly electric bill. Another 25% of households have their utility bills paid for by DCHA and do not receive cost savings benefits.
However, DCHA is using the revenue generated through Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) to launch a Resident Engagement Program, which will include job training, a solar ambassador program for DCHA-resident youths, academic scholarships, and tenant-directed fund initiatives. An SREC is basically a solar renewable energy credit; a solar system earns one SREC for every 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity produced. Washington D.C. SREC values are one of the highest in country, at over $400 per 1,000 kilowatt-hours.
Solar was installed through the Washington, D.C. Department of Energy & Environment’s (DOEE) Solar for All program, which aims to bring the benefits of solar energy to 100,000 low-to-moderate income families in the District. Solar at Parkway Overlook was partially funded through a $1.5 million grant from the Solar for All program. Work on the installation began on in September 2018 and was completed in under a year on May 2019.
This project was awarded a Resilient Power Technical Assistance Fund grant from Clean Energy Group to conduct technical and financial feasibility analyses for solar+storage.
Year Commissioned: 2019
Services Provided: Backup power, net metering, community solar
Supported Infrastructure: Community center in affordable housing complex
Solar: 717 kW
Storage: 125 kW/500 kWh lithium ion
Project Partners: NEO LLC, DC Housing Authority, District of Columbia’s Department of Energy and Environment, Tumalow LLC, Clean Energy Group