Largest Affordable Solar Housing Installation

Most press releases I receive are not really worth publicizing, in my opinion. Most of them are just self-promotions for one organization or another. But here’s one that is worth bringing some attention to:

The Largest, Solar-Powered, Affordable Housing Community in the U.S.

24 Buildings with 378 Family Apartments at Crescent Park in Richmond, California

Dedication: Tuesday, June 10: 10 AM – 12 NOON

The Crescent Park Apartments, 5000 Hartnett Avenue, Richmond, CA

Richmond, California (June 10, 2008) – The new solar installation at the Crescent Park apartments in Richmond, California will be dedicated on Tuesday, June 10, making this large apartment complex the largest, solar-powered affordable housing community in the United States.

EAH Housing, a nonprofit affordable housing developer and manager based in San Rafael California, has announced the dedication of the solar system installed by Sun Light and Power serving 24 buildings and 378 family apartments for this large community on nearly 25 acres.

About the Solar Energy Installation

The solar installation at Crescent Park – a $7 million dollar project installed by Sun Light and Power, based in Berkeley, CA – will help reduce the production of greenhouse gases while providing lower utility costs for this large, family complex. The installation also helps the city of Richmond to meet almost 20% of its 5 MW goal for usage of solar power.

Producing nearly a megawatt of clean, renewable energy, the 908 kilowatts system includes 4323 SunPower, 210-watt modules and 180, SunPower M Series inverters.

Gary Gerber, President of Berkeley’s Sun Light and Power said: “I am honored and pleased that EAH chose Sun Light & Power to build America’s largest affordable housing solar project here at Crescent Park. Sun Light & Power’s engineering expertise and our 32 years of experience designing and installing solar systems made us a great match with EAH, who clearly recognize that solar electricity must play a pivotal role in providing the renewable energy this country needs to reduce our environmental impact and stabilize our future energy costs.”

About the Crescent Park Apartments

Crescent Park is currently undergoing a $70 million restoration by EAH Housing.

EAH Housing acquired Crescent Park in 1994, and quickly moved to restore it to its former status as a valued community resource. It has since been awarded the HUD “Best Practices” Award for its Computer Learning Center, which provides access to technology to very low-income residents.

“We are proud to provide solar power for all 378 apartments as part of our major rehabilitation and improvement of this important affordable housing community that has served Richmond since the 1960s,” said Mary Murtagh, President and CEO of EAH Housing.

“The contributions made by EAH Housing to the city of Richmond is incalculable,” said Gayle McLaughlin, Mayor of Richmond. “EAH has created an affordable housing complex that not only brings value to our city but, with its commitment to solar energy, has also taken on a stewardship role as well. We look forward to our continuing relationship with this outstanding organization.”

About Sun Light and Power

Sun Light and Power was formed 32 years ago in Berkeley by Gary Gerber as one of the first solar energy companies in California. Now the 12th largest solar aggregator in the U.S. (with more than 600 solar installations in the Bay Area) and a staff of 54 employees, Sun Light and Power prides itself on its skilled engineering staff who work with many technically-challenging projects. More information is available at: or by calling: (510) 845-2997.

About EAH Housing

EAH Housing is one of the most respected nonprofit developers/managers in the western United States. With properties in 14 counties in California and Hawaii, and over 40 years of providing affordable housing, EAH Housing has developed over 5900 homes and manages 75 properties. EAH serves over thousands of families, seniors, students and persons with disabilities in California and Hawaii. EAH has regional offices in San Rafael, Fresno, San Jose, and Honolulu. More information is available at:

NEWS NOTE: Gary Gerber, founder and president of Sun Light and Power (Berkeley, CA) is available to talk with you. His contact information: Phone: (510) 845-2997.

11 thoughts on “Largest Affordable Solar Housing Installation”

  1. I didn’t know about that and I live near crescent park and went to kindergarten there. It’s a rough area, I hope they do OK.

  2. Anyone else having trouble getting on to lately? My browser keeps timing out before the website comes up.

  3. They got new servers anonymous.

    “If you have been having trouble accessing TOD, please email support at theoildrum dot com with the name of your ISP and the IP address of the computer you are attempting to visit from. You can determine your IP address by visiting the site

    UPDATE, 6p EDT] Readers can circumvent this problem for the time being by using proxy servers such as Pawxy or Anonymouse.”

  4. Neat that people in affordable housing can get electricity from solar. I wonder if this is one of those Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) deals.

  5. Actually, it’s neat that apartment renters of any kind can participate. It has been a problem in the past that building owners weren’t interested in PV because they weren’t the ones that paid the electricity bills, but the tenants who paid the electricity bills could not put up solar panels because they didn’t own the building. This is why I’m curious how the financing works in this case.

  6. Japan’s getting serious about methane hydrate. JOGMEC recently announced they achieved continuous production of natural gas from methane hydrate by lowering subsurface pressure. Yesterday,Japan and the U.S. inked a deal to study the production capability of Alaskan North Slope hydrate reservoirs.

    The U.S. has about 200,000 tcf of natural gas locked up in methane hydrates. Compare that to the 1500 tcf of recoverable natural gas reserves….or the 26 billion being spent on a pipeline to get at 3 tcf of natural gas in Alaska. Here’s hoping Japan is onto something…

  7. $8/Wp doesn’t get it done. At that price PV isn’t even a competitive source of peaking power. There is supposed to be a flood of supply coming to push down prices. Hope it happens.

  8. At $7.71/Wp, is it competitive with peak retail rates of electricity? If the electricity is to be used by the retail customer (i.e. the apartment dwellers), and not sold to the utility, it doesn’t have to be competitive with wholesale rates.

  9. At 7.71/Wp it’s nowhere near competitive with retail. As a rough rule of thumb divide $/Wp by 20 to get $/kWh. Even in CA retail electricity is not $0.35-0.40/kWh.

    I also dispute that PV is free of grid costs. Almost all PV uses the grid as a buffer, receiving excess power from the panels at times and providing standy power at night and when clouds pass over, etc. It costs money for the grid to provide this service. Whether the tariffs allow the grid to recover that cost is not the point — someone has to pay it and from a societal point of view it is very much part of the “cost” of PV.

    If we can get to $3-4/Wp then solar will start to be competitive in places like the SW US where daytime peaking power is very expensive. Fortunately, there is hope PV and solar thermal can get there soon.

  10. The average retail rate of electricity is not that high, but residential Time-of-Use summer peak rates at over 130 baseline Tiers 3 through 5 are $0.40-$0.53/KWH. And if you do net-metering with PV, you’re supposed to be on a Time-of-Use rate schedule.

    But yeah, the price has to come down before it can become mainstream. Other forms are renewable energy are cheaper, which is why there’s more wind, geothermal, biomass and small hydroelectric generated electricity in CA than solar.

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