Vermont and nonprofits recently (Oct. 19) cut the ribbon on the new McKnight Lane Affordable Housing Development in Waltham, VT. The new project, which Clean Energy Group said is a first in the nation project, transformed an old mobile home park into a zero energy, low-income housing development that includes solar power and energy storage for each modular rental home in the development.
“New clean energy technologies will not trickle down to low-income communities fast enough to provide them with the cost savings and energy security they need now,” said Clean Energy Group President Lew Milford. “We need to demonstrate, document, and replicate a solar+storage project development model that will pay for solar+storage systems over time, provide resilient power to tenants immediately, and that contributes to greater clean energy equity.”
Each home in the 14 home development has a 6-kilowatt rooftop solar array and a 6-kilowatt hour sonnen energy storage system. The battery storage is designed to provide up to six hours of emergency electricity if the electric grid goes down. The homes in the project were constructed by Vermont’s VERMOD as zero energy homes, requiring no or very little energy for heating or cooling.
“The one percent vacancy rate in this area makes it challenging for low-income residents to secure adequate housing. The transformation of a once blighted mobile home park into a net zero energy affordable housing community has created wonderful low-cost housing for 14 households now and into the future, as they are all permanently affordable,” stated Cindy Reid, Cathedral Square Director of Development.
Already most of the homes are completed and some are occupied. Clean Energy Group said the rest of the homes in the development should be occupied in November.
“Solar paired with battery storage is a relatively new technology application for housing, so highlighting the many benefits of such projects for low-income, rural communities is very important,” said Clean Energy Group Project Director Todd Olinsky-Paul. “The McKnight Lane Housing Development is unique because it shows how low-income rural communities can access these technologies today, not years from now.”
The $3.6 million in financing to support the project was secured by project developers Addison County Community Trust and Cathedral Square. They developed financing agreements with Vermont Housing Finance Agency, Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, Vermont Community Development Program, HOME Investment Partnership, People’s United Bank, VLITE, Clean Energy Development Fund, Vermont Community Loan Fund, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, Agency of Commerce and Community Development, City of Vergennes, National Association of Realtors, Efficiency Vermont, and in-kind support from Waltham and Vergennes.Tweet