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.
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 project is expected to be completed in December 2014.