Solar Power in Seven UNHP Buildings

One page sheet on solar specifications and incentives

In 2023/4 UNHP realized its long-held dream of bringing solar power to our multifamily affordable housing portfolio. Thanks to a new Federal refundable tax credit, competitive pricing, State and City programs as well as a bonus credit for use in low-income communities, solar technology has become more affordable and financially accessible. Seven UNHP multifamily buildings have installed solar photovoltaic arrays and UNHP hopes to add solar technology to another property by 2025. UNHP’s mission centers around creating, preserving, and improving affordable housing. Within that mission is another goal; to conserve energy and water and to retrofit affordable housing with renewable and clean energy sources. Our goals are both environmental and economic; reducing operating costs to preserve long-term affordability and our carbon footprint to make the Bronx a cleaner place to live.

UNHP has been able to install solar arrays on 7 of our affordable housing properties – achieving a long-held goal! The panels will provide the electricity to power our public area lighting, laundry rooms, community spaces, and the super’s apartment.

One of the primary drivers that made solar technology affordable now is the benefits of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. The Act created direct payment incentives for tax-exempt nonprofits like UNHP. Instead of receiving tax breaks, nonprofits and other non-taxable organizations are incentivized through a fully refundable credit. The Act increased the existing credit from 15% to 30 % for qualifying investments in solar energy projects and added a further 10 – 20 % bonus credit for the use of solar technology in communities like the Bronx, where the tenants are low-income, the community is low-income, and the construction materials are purchased domestically. In addition to Federal incentives, the NYSERDA program, funded by the State, also targets low and moderate-income communities and was utilized in our solar projects. At the City level, we have benefitted from the Solar Electric Generating Systems Tax Abatement program which provided a credit that has reduced our property tax expense. UNHP explored the use of solar back in 2015 but the initial investment was too high and the payback period too long. Today’s increased benefits allow payback periods for UNHP projects to range between 1 – 4 years.

Working with a consultant, Crauderueff Solar, who specializes in owner’s representation for solar projects in affordable housing; solar array work scopes and financial plans were developed for each of the seven properties based on existing roof capability and size.