New Solar Energy Projects Throughout St. Louis

The St. Louis Housing Authority recently completed its ambitious project to power its administrative building and four affordable housing complexes with energy produced by the sun. Designed, installed and engineered by Real Goods Solar (Nasdaq: RSOL), the solar power systems will produce 617kW of energy, which is expected to reduce the complexes’ common area electricity use by over 75 percent on average and the Authority’s electricity use by 15 percent.

The system is comprised of 405 SunPower and 2,216 Sharp solar panels and was funded using federal Housing and Urban Development Green Communities stimulus funds and energy and redevelopment tax credits. In keeping with the requirements of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, all parts are made in America.

In addition to traditional roof-mounted solar power systems, the affordable housing sites include elevated carport canopy solar arrays which not only provide the optimal south facing structure for the panels, but shade for the cars underneath.

Developed by Sunwheel Energy Partners, an affiliate of affordable housing developer McCormack Baron Salazar, the project will generate approximately 777,000 kilowatt hours of energy a year – the equivalent of powering 81 homes annually or removing 170 vehicles from the road.

"Solar power isn’t just for large corporations or those with large incomes," explained Michael Steinbaum, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Sunwheel. "It provides an opportunity for just about anyone to reduce costs and have a positive impact on the environment."

According to Tyson Grul, Director of Commercial Solar for Real Goods, the project was among the company’s most difficult and most rewarding. "The coordination required to install systems on more than 90 buildings – in a wide variety of weather conditions – was no small feat. However, the result is the largest solar initiative in the state so far, and we believe it will open doors for many future projects – putting Missouri on the path to being a national renewable energy leader."

Real Goods Solar is a leading solar energy integrator, having installed over 11,500 solar electric systems for homes, schools and businesses. We offer turnkey solutions, and have 33 years of experience in solar energy, beginning with its sale of the first solar photovoltaic panels in the U.S. in 1978. With 15 offices in California, Colorado and the Northeast, Real Goods Solar is one of the largest solar installers in the country.