CMHA flips the switch on solar panels

Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, a NEOSCC Board Member, last month flipped the switch on solar panels turning a brownfield into community asset.

From the Plain Dealer:


Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority Executive Director Jeffrey Patterson wanted to make a brownfield productive and enrich Cleveland’s struggling Kinsman neighborhood. He hit both targets with his plan to use six acres of brownfield as a solar farm to generate power for CMHA’s nearby three-story headquarters. The project will also improve a blighted area and provide some jobs to residents.

Electricity should start flowing this month, making the housing authority the first in the country to have a solar farm, says Mike Shaut, CEO of Shaker Heights-based Carbon Vision, a key partner in the project. CMHA will pay nothing for this venture, which is expected to cost a little more than $3 million. Carbon Vision will lease the land from CMHA and own the solar farm for 15 years. CMHA will be able to buy it at a discount after that.

Key Bank helped with financing, Cleveland Public Power will buy the electricity (and sell it to CMHA at a discount) and FirstEnergy Corp. will buy the renewable-energy credits.

Turning brownfields into solar fields is the sort of idea that could catch on. Meanwhile, the future of a piece of polluted land in Kinsman is looking suddenly quite sunny.

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