First-of-Its-Kind Veterans Housing Project Includes Green Energy Component

PITTSFIELD, Mass., Oct. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Already leading the way nationally with the creation of a new housing model for formerly homeless veterans, Northampton, Massachusetts-based non-profit Soldier On is also taking a forward-looking position on environmental issues. Soldier On’s first-of-its-kind limited equity housing project for formerly homeless veterans, scheduled to break ground in late October, will use photovoltaic technology supplied by Borrego Solar to supply electricity to its 39 apartments.

The Pittsfield housing project will give formerly homeless veterans the opportunity to become homeowners, in many cases for the first time in their lives. Veterans will have the opportunity to purchase an equity share; the value of their share will be held in trust and will be available to them should they choose to move out, or will become part of their estate. The housing units will be managed by the veterans who purchase equity in apartments. Those veterans will have completed a progression from Soldier On’s shelter in Leeds, Massachusetts to its transitional housing facility in Pittsfield. In the limited-equity housing project, they will continue to be surrounded by the services they need and the community of support Soldier On provides.

The project is intended to serve a new national model for transitioning veterans from homelessness to homeownership. Soldier On, which has been helping get veterans off the street since 1994, created the limited-equity housing concept as the ultimate step in its drive to “change the end of the story” for formerly homeless veterans. A second limited-equity housing project is planned for Leeds. Soldier On expects to build other such projects in the future, with the goal of taking the model to the national level.

Combining this new vision for housing with renewable energy principles was a logical step. Borrego, which is based in Berkeley, California, and has its East Coast office in Boston, designed a photovoltaic power generation system to fit the housing project.

Borrego designed for the project a 40.32 kW DC photovoltaic power generation system. The system uses 180 Sharp (224 watt) modules, and 10 Solectria Inverters. According to Borrego:

  • This system will reduce carbon emissions by 71,012 lbs of CO2 annually.
  • This is equivalent to the emissions from an average passenger car driving 135,625 miles every year for 30 years.
  • This is also equivalent to the CO2 that would be removed by planting 28 acres of trees.
  • This system will also reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 617 pounds over the life of the system. Nitrogen oxides are a major contributor to smog and air-induced respiratory problems.

The October 29 groundbreaking event for the Pittsfield project will include as speakers Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray, Stephen Coyle, CEO of the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust, and Gordon Mansfield, former Deputy Secretary of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.

For more information on Soldier On visit wesoldieron.org.

SOURCE Soldier On

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