AHC Inc. “Flips the Switch” on Largest Multifamily Solar Installation in Northern Virginia

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Celia Slater, AHC Inc., 571-228-5948, celia.slater@ahcinc.org
Adam Segel-Moss, Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy, Asegel-moss@Arlingtonva.us
Tom Weaver, Prospect Solar, 703-675-9024, Weavert@prospectsolar.com

AHC Inc. “Flips the Switch” on  Largest Rooftop Solar Array on a Multifamily Residence in Northern Virginia

(Arlington, VA – Oct. 22, 2020) AHC Inc., in partnership with Arlington County, “Flipped the Switch” on 342 solar panels at The Apex, a new 256-unit affordable apartment community on the banks of Four Mile Run in South Arlington, VA. The 130 KW installation is the largest solar panel array on a multifamily apartment building in Northern Virginia. The event took place during AHC Inc.’s Annual Meeting on October 20, 2020.

“AHC is committed to reducing our carbon footprint and to Arlington’s Community Energy Plan, while at the same time improving our residents’ quality of life,” said AHC President and CEO Walter D. Webdale. “We are delighted to have the opportunity to reduce our operating expenses while also cutting back on carbon emissions. Converting a portion of our energy source to renewables is a win for everyone – the community, our residents, and for us.”

Along with providing technical assistance to support the solar installation at the property, Arlington County allocated up to $20.6 million in loan funds from the County’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund to help construct the apartment community.

“The Apex project shows that affordable housing and sustainability can be woven together beautifully to create a climate of change,” said Claude Williamson, Director of the Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development for Arlington County. “Energy efficient construction and solar power are important for containing the costs of affordable living and to reach Arlington’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. We look forward to working hand in hand with our entire community to create and maintain more sustainable, affordable housing for the future.”

The solar panels work by converting energy from the sun into electricity. The Apex solar array will generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 11 single-family homes over the course of the year. The electricity generated is used to offset common area energy usage, cutting down on greenhouse emissions. This means the lights, elevators, fitness equipment, and electricity to the apartment community’s leasing office will all be powered by solar energy. 

“It’s no secret that housing in the DC metro area is expensive, so there is certainly a need for more affordable housing communities like The APEX!” says Andrew Skinner, Prospect Solar Vice President. Utility bills are usually one of the largest and most volatile portions of an affordable housing development’s budget. Stabilizing utility bills through solar and other measures makes it easier to maintain operating budgets, retain resident services and avoid raising rents. We applaud AHC for being an industry leader and jumping out ahead of the curve and showing the industry that low and middle-income (LMI) projects work in Virginia.  As the solar industry grows in the state of Virginia, it is critical that those that benefit the most from renewables (LMI communities) have access to the benefits.” 

The Apex also includes a variety of other energy efficient features, earning the property an EarthCraft Gold designation. The EarthCraft program certifies homes that are sourced, constructed and designed to reduce environmental impacts.

Building Highlights

  • High efficiency Water Sense toilets, showerheads, and faucets
  • Energy-Efficient LED lighting
  • ENERGY STAR appliances, HVAC, and water heating systems
  • Enhanced insulation and air sealing to eliminate transfer of air between units and the outside environment
  • Reduced impervious (paved) area, which reduces runoff 80% and helps protect the adjacent Four Mile Run
  • Reflective roofing that creates a cooler environment around the building
  • Native and drought tolerant plantings in the landscaping
  • Protected bike storage

AHC began welcoming residents to the new property in Spring 2020. The 4.6 acre project is significant because it complements Arlington County’s Affordable Housing Master Plan by providing affordable apartments in a neighborhood that has a lower share of affordable housing.

The redevelopment includes a broader mix of housing options and apartment sizes than most affordable projects. Along with much-needed affordable housing, The Apex includes housing for households that earn 40% to 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI). The apartment community also provides a large number of apartments for families – 81% of the new homes will have two or three bedrooms.

Other positive community benefits include space for resident services, fitness room, playground and outdoor sport court.

The project’s financing includes up to $20.6 million in funds from Arlington’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund (AHIF). The redevelopment also won $2.5 million in 9% Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), which will provide approximately $24 million in equity financing. The highly competitive federal program, designed to encourage the development of affordable rental housing, is administered through Virginia Housing (previously the Virginia Housing Development Authority). The project also received approximately $1 million in 4% LIHTC tax credits, which will generate roughly $10 million in equity. NeighborWorksAmerica helped fund pre-development costs.

Project partners include Arlington County; Capital One; Harkins Builders; Hudson Housing; Klein Hornig, LLP; Michael T. Foster Architects; NeighborWorks America; Walter L. Phillips, Shulman, Rogers, Gandal, Pordy & Ecker, P.A.; Virginia Housing Development Authority; and Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley & Walsh, P.C.

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About AHC Inc. Founded in 1975, AHC Inc. is a nonprofit developer of affordable housing that provides quality homes and education programs for low- and moderate-income families. Based in Arlington, VA, AHC has developed more than 7,500 apartment units in 50+
properties in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. AHC’s Resident Services program reaches 3,000 children, teens, adults and seniors each year through on-site education and social service programs and activities. For more information, visit https://www.ahcinc.org/  

About Arlington County
Arlington, Va., is a world-class residential, business and tourist location that was originally part of the “10 miles square” parcel of land surveyed in 1791 to be the Nation’s Capital. Slightly smaller than 26 square miles, it is the geographically smallest self-governing county in the United States, and one of only a handful with the prized Aaa/AAA/AAA bond rating. Arlington maintains a rich variety of stable neighborhoods and quality schools, and has received numerous awards for Smart Growth and transit-oriented development. Home to some of the most influential organizations in the world — including the Pentagon — Arlington stands out as one of America’s preeminent places to live, visit and do business. https://www.arlingtonva.us/

About Prospect Solar
Prospect Solar is committed to safely delivering the Sun’s energy to power homes, businesses, and communities. Since 2010, Prospect Solar has engineered, installed, and maintained solar energy systems in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC. https://www.prospectsolar.com/


Photo credit: Jeffrey Sauers, CPI Productions