YONKERS, NY (December 2022) — The Yonkers Housing Authority (YHA) and The Community Builders (TCB) have been working together for more than a decade to redevelop the 1940s-era Cottage Place Gardens public housing complex into The Ridgeway, a modern mixed-income community in Southwest Yonkers.
To date, the six-phase master plan has built 327 affordable rental units with another 81 slated for completion this month and 92 more units in design. The first two phases of The Ridgeway consist of three multifamily buildings containing 172 units located at 33 and 43 Ashburton Avenue and 188 Warburton Avenue in downtown Yonkers. These buildings, which were completed in 2015 and 2016, were designed as solar-ready, with rooftops that could accommodate the additional load from a future solar photovoltaic system.
When the City of Yonkers amended its building code in December 2020 to permit community solar projects, YHA and TCB decided to pursue retrofitting the rooftops at these buildings with solar panels. TCB worked with Resonant Energy, a solar company that specializes in serving affordable housing and other nonprofits, to assist with permitting and create custom financing for the solar projects that both reduces residents’ electric bills, while also providing savings on the buildings’ common electricity expenses.
Community solar is a program designed so the electricity savings generated by solar panels in one location can be shared with multiple subscribers in the utility provider’s service area in addition to the owner of the building hosting the system.
Through this program, Sunwealth Power, a regional solar financing company, will own and maintain 345 solar panels, over 140 kilowatts DC, on the three rooftops. The building owners will purchase electricity in exchange for electricity bill credits with a net estimated savings of $229,000 over 25 years that will go towards offsetting the electricity cost of operating these buildings. 172 Warburton, the fourth phase of the master plan, opened last fall with 183 roof-top solar panels; the fifth phase, 178 Warburton, is being constructed with 154 solar panels; the sixth phase is expected to have over 200 panels.
As a community solar program, TCB and YHA are able to share the savings with 19 residents on a first come first served basis. There is no cost to the residents and the savings is estimated at $200/year/household.
A resident who signs up will continue to receive their monthly utility bill from Con Edison and, from the time the solar is completed and connected to the grid, they will see a credit against their current charges. The installation of the panels at 33 and 43 Ashburton Avenue and 188 Warburton Avenue is complete and the interconnection of the system to the electricity grid is expected before the end of this year.
“Sustainability is a top priority of my administration. I applaud the Yonkers Housing Authority and The Community Builders for developing this important and innovative Community Solar program. Not only is it helping to reduce our carbon footprint it is also providing energy cost savings for residents. It’s a win-win for our city,” said Mayor Mike Spano.
“I was recently in DC attending the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council meeting where it was clear that many other communities can’t or don’t know how to provide roof-top solar to affordable housing developments. Yet here in Yonkers, working with Mayor Mike Spano’s Administration and our community development partners, TCB, we have been able to make it happen,” said Wilson Kimball, President and CEO of the Yonkers Housing Authority.
“The Community Builders is committed to sustainability and excited to install solar technology at The Ridgeway to advance clean energy with our partners at Yonkers Housing Authority,” said Jesse Batus, Vice President of Development at The Community Builders. “Thanks to Mayor Spano’s leadership, progressive zoning in the City of Yonkers is welcoming to solar solutions that can lower utility use and decrease electricity expenses. We’re proud to partner with Yonkers Housing Authority to create housing that is more efficient and communities that are more sustainable in Yonkers.”
About Yonkers Housing Authority
The Yonkers Housing Authority (YHA) is the largest provider of affordable housing in the City of Yonkers and the second largest public housing authority in New York State. YHA has an unparalleled commitment to redeveloping, managing and administering its housing stock to provide low-income families, the elderly and disabled individuals with access to good, sustainable housing that improves the quality of the residents’ lives, fosters their economic success, and allows them to serve as integral members of communities in which they live. For more information visit www.mhacy.org
About The Community Builders
The Community Builders’ mission is to build and sustain strong communities where all people can thrive. TCB’s mission-driven businesses work with partners to develop, finance and operate residential communities, neighborhood amenities and opportunity programs for families, seniors and adults with disabilities. Since 1964, TCB has advanced housing equity through award-winning affordable and mixed-income communities and its pioneering Community Life model for resident success. Today, TCB’s ownership and management portfolio includes over 14,000 apartment homes. Anchored by offices in Boston, Chicago, Columbus New York and Washington D.C., TCB operates across 15 states. www.tcbinc.org