Boston Housing Authority
At a Glance
Public Housing Authority
Commercial Energy Efficiency
Benjamin Metcalf initiated a solar plus battery storage project at one of Boston Housing Authority’s elderly housing developments, laying the groundwork for a first of its kind demonstration project for increasing resiliency and reducing GHG emissions.
With the threats of climate change and the risk of a grid outage rising, the Boston Housing Authority found it necessary to increase its resiliency by exploring the installation of solar photovoltaic and a battery storage system. Having had great success with previous Climate Corps fellows, BHA brought in their 4th fellow, Benjamin Metcalf, to screen its housing portfolio for candidate developments and to model the costs and benefits of Resilient PV.
Using the monthly utility bills database, Ben screened the 62 developments in BHA’s portfolio to find the right combination of load factor, consumption, tariff structure, roof size and development characteristics. A 100 unit, four story elderly housing development was identified as the best candidate. Drawing from 5 minute interval data from the utility, Ben used the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Solar Advisory Model and RStudio to model Resilient PV’s potential for reducing energy expenses and powering an expanded emergency load. Seeing promising results, Ben identified potential partners and funding opportunities and created a project plan, enabling BHA to move forward.
When the electric grid goes out at BHA, the resident’s will have a larger amount of emergency power through Resilient PV than currently provided by the backup diesel generator. Depending on the system size, Resilient PV could provide heating and cooling in the community room, some plug load to charge phones or medical devices, and common area refrigeration for resident’s medication. This project can serve as a template for BHA and other housing authorities on how to provide secure, reliable power necessary to keep their residents safe during emergencies. BHA’s electric bill also has the potential to be significantly reduced.