St. James Apartments and Townhomes, an affordable supportive housing development in Grand Rapids, Michigan, completed the installation of 308 solar panels capable of generating 125,000 kilowatt hours per year, Genesis Non-Profit Housing Corporation and Colliers International|West Michigan announced.
“We are committed to providing quality housing for Grand Rapids residents, and we are thrilled to also offer housing that makes a positive environmental impact,” said John Wynbeek, executive director of Genesis Non-Profit Housing Corporation, in a statement. “The solar array at St. James improves efficiency for the building, resulting in lower electric utility costs which helps preserve affordability. We are thankful for support from the Colliers Incentives team and our community partners who helped make this solar project a reality.”
Genesis Non-Profit Housing Corporation installed the solar array to help reduce the cost of electric, which is included in the rent at St. James Apartments. It’s anticipated the solar array will reduce the cost of electricity by as much as 50 percent and will pay for itself in nine to 10 years. This project has inspired other non-profit housing developers, such as Dwelling Place, LINC, ICCF and the Grand Rapids Housing Commission, to consider using solar power to help manage electricity costs.
Mike and Roz Linsea of Solar Winds Power Systems designed and implemented the solar array, Kim Destigter of Destigter Architecture & Planning contributed the architectural services, Pioneer Construction provided construction services and Van Haren Electric provided electrical services.
Genesis Non-Profit Housing Corporation hired the Colliers Incentives team to help consult on the economic viability and tax credit portion of the project. Colliers engaged the National Equity Fund, who syndicated the solar tax credits that provided a significant portion of the funding for the solar project.
St. James Apartments and Townhomes, located at 750 First St. NW, opened December of 2018 and provides affordable apartments and townhomes. The former school building was transformed into 36 apartments and 16 townhomes by Genesis Non-Profit Housing Corporation. Dwelling Place is a co-developer and provides property management services. The National Equity Fund and Mercantile Bank provided the funding of the project. In addition to having a solar array, the building is LEED certified.