Housing solutions meet energy solutions

In 2020, CARITAS began powering its one-of-a-kind recovery and homeless services facility with solar power. CARITAS provides multiple solutions to homelessness and addiction under one roof. That commitment to a holistic solution begins with their building, a former warehouse repurposed using architecture intended to maximize human wellbeing with welcoming spaces and plenty of natural light.

The solar power system is expected to cover a substantial portion of the new facility’s energy use by generating enough clean energy to power the equivalent of 39 average homes and to offset 310 tons of carbon dioxide pollution. 

The decision to add solar power at the new facility is consistent with the commitment of CARITAS to effective stewardship of resources that are both financial and ecological. The building also incorporates about 45 solar tubes, which will filter natural light throughout the Center. Other appliances are ENERGY STAR certified to manage usage and costs. Toilets in the building also feature automatic shut-off functions. 

Secure Solar Futures installed the solar energy equipment at no upfront capital cost to CARITAS and will operate the system under a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement. Over that term, CARITAS will buy all the electricity generated by the solar panels located on site from Secure Solar Futures at a cost lower than typically available. CARITAS will use a $17,000 grant from the RVA Solar Fund, administered by the Community Foundation for a Greater Richmond.

The Challenge

Provide homeless and recovery haven and integrate solar power as a long range investment to benefit all

The Result

Secure Solar Futures installed the largest solar power system at any facility serving people experiencing homelessness in Virginia and possibly on the East Coast. Solar arrays on the CARITAS Center in Richmond, Virginia with a capacity of 313 kilowatts of clean energy, are estimated to cut the organization’s electric utility bills by $224,358 over the next 25 years.