CLEVELAND - On Wednesday, Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority officials will flip the switch on one of the largest renewable energy initiatives in Cuyahoga County.
In October 2011, about a year and a half after moving into their new headquarters at 8120 Kinsman Ave. in Cleveland, CMHA officials envisioned a plan to become more self-sustaining while saving money at the same time.
In partnership with Cleveland Public Power, Key Bank and Carbon Vision, a renewable energy/project development firm out of Shaker Heights, CMHA built a solar panel field on six-acres of a 12-acre, remediated, post-industrial site next door.
Energy from the 4,200 solar panels will help power CMHA headquarters.
"Just like any other business, we have to try to find ways to save dollars as well as be environmentally friendly," said Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority CEO Jeffrey K. Patterson.
The $3.3 million-project will save CMHA several million dollars over the life of the solar panels.
Carbon Vision will initially lease the land from CMHA. After 15 years, CMHA then has the option to buy the panels outright.
"This is a little bit cutting edge, taking unused urban land and coming up with a new, post-industrial use to generate sustainable energy and save money for CMHA. It really is a win-win project," said Carbon Vision President Michael Shaut.
While excited about the money being saved for CMHA, Patterson was also equally excited about what the project will bring to the community and the environment.
"It provides learning opportunities for not only the parent, but also for the children to see some of the things that they may be reading about in school, to actually see it in their actual community, which I think is great," Patterson said.