EcoEnergies completes first phase of First Community Housing Project in Morgan Hill, CA

Solar Power installation for several carports and recreation center provides permanent reduction in electricity costs.

The Murphy Ranch Townhomes affordable housing development was officially opened today, in a ceremony attended by dozens of interested local residents, politicians, contractors, and press. The project includes numerous 'green' and sustainable building features, including solar power for all common areas in the development. Total installed solar capacity is about 30 kilowatts AC, spread amongst numerous arrays located in the 7.2 acre project site. EcoEnergies was selected as the solar contractor to design, supply, and install all the systems

"Solar technology is a perfect match for affordable housing projects, because it provides a permanent reduction in operating costs", said Peter Carrie, President of EcoEnergies. The largest system on the site (12 kW AC) consists of 170 solar modules manufactured by BP Solar, each producing 85 watts, and 5 2.5 kilowatt inverters. It provides the electricity requirements for the community recreation building. This building is the centerpiece of the development, and will house an after school program, the state-of-the-art computer lab, and weekly ESL classes for adults.

There are 8 additional solar arrays on the site, totaling over 18 kilowatts in solar power capacity. These arrays are located on numerous carport structures on the site.

First Community Housing expects the financial payback from the three systems to occur in 7 to 8 years, with a return on investment of 12 to 13% pre-tax. Funds from the Emerging Renewables Buydown Program, administered by the California Energy Commission, assisted in bringing down the cost of the PV systems for the project developer. Additional buydown funds are provided through another incentive program specifically for low and affordable income housing projects.

Solar is not new to First Community Housing (FCH). This is the second project where FCH has "gone solar" to cover electricity needs. All in attendance at the ceremony were impressed with the quality of the housing development, and its solar systems and sustainable features. "The Murphy Ranch Housing Project by First Community Housing is a very well done project that includes many "green" features," said Dennis Kennedy, Mayor of Morgan Hill.

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