In 2017, Urban Ingenuity was engaged by the DC Housing Authority to support solar analysis for a vacant affordable housing development slated for redevelopment. The project spans eight buildings and a community center across seven acres in Ward 8, adjacent to the former St. Elizabeth’s campus, and will put 220 units of affordable housing back into service upon completion. With substantial amounts of unutilized rooftop space available, in addition to a tract of vacant and unusable land where a ninth building was demolished to accommodate a DC Water access point, the potential for solar PV appeared substantial.
Urban Ingenuity and partners provided solar site analysis, project definition, and technical specifications in order to provide DCHA with sufficient information to integrate a district energy system into their existing building plans and bid package for a general contractor. In addition, the team conducted a preliminary review of regulatory approaches and developed initial financial models and financing strategies to allow DCHA to understand the economics of the system under different financial scenarios, and to begin integrating the project economics within the overall project financial planning and underwriting.
Parkway Overlook will be one of the District’s first multifamily properties to include solar and battery storage for resilience. DOEE’s Solar for All program, which aims to provide the benefits of solar power to 100,000 low-income households and reduce their energy bills by 50 percent by 2032, provided technical assistance and grant funding for this project to support the installation of rooftop and ground-mounted solar and battery storage. The solar array will generate enough electricity to support 30 percent of the property’s energy consumption and the battery storage will enable the property to continue functioning in the event of an extended power outage.
The result of the UI technical analysis was the development of a system design and preliminary financial modeling for a 630 kW solar PV system paired with about 600 kW / 600 kWh of battery storage – one of the most robust solar installations in the District to date and likely one of the first uses of battery storage in a multifamily context.