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Rooftop Solar Project Underway on Altoona Public Housing

Thursday, April 20, 2023
V1 Staff

grants, tax credits fund project at Solis Circle

The installation of solar panels atop a public-housing development in Altoona will save more than a quarter of a million dollars in energy costs over 25 years, the city estimates.

Installation of the rooftop photovoltaic project began in early April at the Solis Circle housing project, 1511 Devney Drive, on Altoona's south side. The system will project up to 40 kilowatts of solar power to the residents of Solis Circle, saving an estimated $283,000 over the near 25 years.

"In 2019 the city took a significant step toward addressing housing affordability in Altoona with the development of Solis Circle, and is now looking to improve the Solis Circle facility by installing solar power that will lower the facility's monthly electric bill, thereby reducing the cost of operating the facility with the goal of maintaining very affordable rents," City Administrator Mike Golat said. "The project aligns with the city's initiative to help our community reduce energy consumption, and, thereby, meet sustainability goals noted in our updated Comprehensive Plan."

Solis Circle is a 25-unit affordable housing complex that features one- and two-bedroom apartments as well as efficiencies. It was developed by a partnership between the City of Altoona; local nonprofit JONAH; and C&M Home Builders and Real Estate.

Olson Solar Energy had the winning bid of $138,245 for the project. That price tag will be primarily covered by a variety of grant funds and renewable energy incentives, including $81,220 in the form of a state Energy Innovation Grant, $41,474 through a federal tax credit program, and $7,300 through Focus on Energy. The remaining $8,252 will come from the Solis Circle rental fund.

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