Solar-Squared for Low-Income Housing Complex in Havre

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Residents of the low-income Hill View Apartments in Havre, Montana will soon be enjoying double the benefits of solar energy: solar photovoltaic panels and solar thermal collectors will work side-by-side to produce electricity and hot water for the 52-unit complex. The new solar arrays are part of a complete renovation of the complex with an eye toward energy efficiency, including added insulation and new windows and boilers. The project also features construction of a new, energy-efficient community building, which includes meeting rooms, laundry facilities, and a Head Start school and playground.

The project was developed by MT Preservation HV LLLP, a partnership which includes HomeWORD, a nonprofit developer of affordable and sustainable housing headquartered in Missoula, and GMD Development of Seattle. Hill View is one of five low-income housing complexes around the state that are being renovated by the partnership.

Solar hot water panels
Solar water heating panels at Hill View Apartments

Julie Stiteler, Housing Project Manager with HomeWORD, explains that Hill View residents will benefit in numerous ways from the project. The energy efficiency upgrades make the apartments more comfortable year-round: cooler in summer and warmer in winter. While the property owner pays utility bills for the complex, the fact that those bills are lower due to the efficiency upgrades and solar arrays means that more money is available month-to-month to keep the property well-maintained for residents.

The 35 kilowatt solar electric array was installed by Sundance Solar Systems of Red Lodge, and the 750,000 Btu solar hot water system was installed by Liquid Solar Systems of Bozeman.

The project is expected to be completed in December 2014.

Quick Stats

  • Capacity (kW): 34.6
  • Owner: MT Preservation HV LLLP
  • Location: 1280 10th Street W, Havre, MT
  • Installer: Sundance Solar Systems (solar PV), Liquid Solar Systems (solar hot water)
  • Equipment Used: 132 LG Electronics 265 Watt Modules; 4 Fronius IG Plus 6000 W inverters and 1 Fronius IG Plus 10000 W inverter; Unirac racking 6 inch standoffs; SunEarth flat plate solar collectors; stainless storage tanks; one 95% efficient HTP water heater with solar input coil