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Affordable Housing in Barre, VT is Going Solar!

An Encore ground mount solar array project, similar to the ones to be constructed for BHA. Photo courtesy of Encore Renewable Energy.

An Encore ground mount solar array project, similar to the ones to be constructed for BHA. Photo courtesy of Encore Renewable Energy.

The Barre Housing Authority (BHA) is pleased to announce that it has received approval from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to enter into a long-term net-metering agreement with Encore Renewable Energy of Burlington, Vermont. Through the agreement, BHA will save more than $700,000 over the next twenty years as a result of this public-private partnership formed to develop and finance two separate 500kW solar arrays on working farms in Orange, Vermont.

“We view this agreement as a classic win-win, as BHA anticipates lowering our electric bill with Green Mountain Power significantly, while also contributing to the social good associated with the further development of Vermont’s clean energy economy,” stated Chip Castle, BHA Executive Director. “As part of our ongoing operating budget review process, we are constantly looking for ways to do things as efficiently as possible in order to allow us to deliver the greatest amount of high-quality, affordable housing to the communities we serve. We have been working closely with Encore on this exciting opportunity for some time and it now looks like all the hard work and effort will pay off for BHA and, hopefully, pave the way for other Housing Authorities across the country,” said Castle.

“We are delighted to be working with BHA on this important community solar project which is the latest of a number of projects that Encore has worked on with leading affordable housing authority partners,” said Encore President Chad Farrell. “We are committed to this important area of solar energy development – projects which deliver low cost solar electricity to low- and moderate-income households, as these projects are entirely consistent with our corporate mission and make financial sense for our partners, such as BHA.”

“Sustainability is key to preserving our public housing for the future and the Barre Housing Authority is a leader in this effort,” said Jim Reed, HUD New England Regional Administrator. “We congratulate the Housing Authority on this innovative partnership that makes both economic and environmental sense.”

Senator Patrick Leahy, a leading member of the Senate Appropriations Committee that authorizes funding for HUD programs, said “This new collaboration between the Barre Housing Authority and Encore recognizes that green building is not only vital to lowering our carbon footprint and energy costs. It also is an essential part of building a sustainable, inclusive community. At the federal level, I believe it is our job to recognize and enable these partnerships as a way to preserve our critical housing stock and to save money by cutting utility costs. I am proud to support this project and remain committed to promoting this ground breaking initiative as a way to improve the quality of life for residents of public housing, and to ensure that renewable energy can continue to flourish as an engine of economic growth, job development and opportunity.”

The solar arrays are expected to be commissioned and to begin generating net metering solar credits in late 2016.

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