Solar PV, Thermal in First-Home Development

Low-income housing efforts in Humboldt Bay, California are building with low energy consumption as a goal. Six Rivers Solar of Eureka just won a contract to supply each of the eight homes planned for the Windsong Energy Efficiency Project with 1 kW solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays and 40 sq. ft. solar thermal hot water systems.

Eureka, California – September 7, 2004 [] Harmony Groves of Six Rivers said the contract for the PV arrays totals US$37,064, and that includes a rebate of $24,704. The solar thermal hot water systems contract totals $17,600, and the city of Arcata is funding the Windsong project. “It is important to get these systems to low income housing developments because low income buyers benefit from solar savings,” Groves said. Property values in the Humboldt Bay area have skyrocketed, according to Groves. The local people who both work and live there are having difficulty purchasing land. Solar installations were included in the affordable housing plan because the city government is concerned about pollution as well as living accommodations for its residents. In 2002, the average home in Humboldt County used 544 kWh of electricity a month, at a cost of $19.44 cents per kWh. Groves estimated that a 1 kW PV array should produce 100 kWh a month, and should save the homeowners $230 a year on electricity costs. Solar water heating systems on the homes should provide a 3-person family with approximately two-thirds of their annual hot water requirements. The Windsong development is one of the first low energy, affordable housing projects organized by the Humboldt Bay Housing Development Corporation and the Arcata First Time Homebuyer Program. Once all of the installations are complete, Groves said that Six Rivers plans to monitor how efficient the solar arrays are to get an accurate picture of the actual energy savings.


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