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The District of Columbia Housing Authority is hoping to expand upon its sustainable and environment-friendly infrastructure with increased solar capacity. 

DCHA’s Board of Commissioners approved a resolution to apply for a grant of up to $5 million from the District’s Solar for All Program at the monthly board meeting on September 13.

“DCHA has been working for years to make our communities more healthy and sustainable,” said Interim Executive Director Nathan Bovelle. “If we were awarded this grant, it would further this goal, reduce our carbon footprint, and increase our ability to generate more power at our properties while reducing overall energy costs.”

The Solar for All Program began in D.C. in October 2016 to help small local businesses, nonprofits, seniors, and low-income households increase their access to solar power. The program aims to reduce electric bills by 50 percent of some 100,000 low-income District households by 2032.

The grant application states that DCHA will design and implement a solar energy program to replace, upgrade, and modernize aging electrical equipment, upgrade or replace roofs to support solar panels, and implement a model resident engagement and support program, among other tasks.

DCHA’s traditional, mixed-income, and tax credit properties would all be eligible, said DCHA’s Deputy Director of the Office of Capital Programs Kerry Smyser.

Between 2005 and February 2016, DCHA spent more than $84 million on energy conservation improvements throughout its portfolio. DCHA participates in the Department of Energy and the Environment’s weatherization program and regularly upgrades windows and roofs to improve the efficiency of our mechanical programs. Several properties such as Regency House and Sheridan Station already have solar panels and other sustainable building practices. Lighting, HVAC units, and appliances have been steadily replaced with more energy efficient models. Last year, DCHA was awarded DDOE’s Powerdown DC Award after several DCHA properties took part in a sustainability competition to reduce their energy and water use. 

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DCHA Board of Commissioners Chairman Neil Albert and Interim Executive Director Nathan Bovelle