Affordable Housing Partner Adds Solar to 5 Communities

By Leslie Zarker, ICF on May 15, 2018

LINC Housing’s SEED Partners, LLC – a Better Buildings Challenge Partner – has installed new solar photovoltaic systems at five properties, impacting 545 low-income family and senior households, reducing resident energy bills, and providing solar installation job training for the community.

Co-developed with the National Housing Trust, LINC used a new financing model that aggregates the properties as one project to leverage tax credits and available incentive programs. The model allows the property owner to receive the operating income from cost savings, rather than a third party, allowing the owner to diversify revenue streams and finance more affordable housing.

LINC and SEED hope to replicate the process using a similar ownership structure, available incentives, and other resources for additional LINC properties. The success of this model provides new options to multifamily owners who have insufficient upfront installation funds.

The project received a $50,000 grant from Enterprise Community Partners and a $588,000 participation loan from the Enterprise Community Loan Fund and the National Housing Trust. It is supported by the State of California through the Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing (MASH) program and the Low-Income Weatherization Program (LIWP). Monarch Private Capital, LLC, is the primary investor, providing an innovative source of financing that helps LINC leverage other funding sources that are necessary for the overall project. Solar installation partners are Primus, Cal Solar, and GRID Alternatives. GRID Alternatives also provided solar installation job training to residents interested in building a career in the solar industry.

SEED Partners, founded in 2012, is an arm of LINC Housing specializing in sustainable retrofits and other related projects. SEED has rehabbed 21 of LINC’s properties, resulting in approximately $140,000 annual savings for owner-paid energy and water costs.