The Public Housing Agency (PHA) in St. Paul, Minnesota provides affordable housing for low-income individuals and families throughout the city. Established in 1977, the PHA owns and manages 4,274 rental units in St. Paul, which are located in hi-rise buildings, townhouses, duplexes and single-family residences. Through both its public housing and Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher programs, the PHA is providing affordable housing to more than 21,000 low-income residents.
Committed to sustainable and green initiatives, the St. Paul PHA recognized the opportunity to participate in community solar created by the Minnesota State Legislature in 2013. In 2014, the agency issued a request for proposals and ultimately signed 25-year subscription agreements with project developer Geronimo Energy. These off-site community solar projects – also known as community solar gardens – are now owned and operated by BHE Renewables and were developed by Geronimo Energy. Over the 25-year term, the PHA estimated that it would save more than $3 million in electricity costs - or $130,000 per year - and its community solar garden subscriptions would offset 100 percent of the energy use at 10 of its hi-rise buildings and its main administrative building.