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Solar-Funded WiFi for Affordable Housing: the New Normal?

Residents of 22 buildings in East New York, Crown Heights and Bedford Stuyvesant are about to get free solar-powered WiFi under a new program that could be replicated across the city’s entire affordable housing stock.

Workforce Housing Group (WFHG), a New York-based affordable housing development organization, secured first-of-its-kind financing from the NY Green Bank (NYGB) to install solar panels on 18 of its affordable housing buildings. Our Here Comes Solar team helped develop and execute the solar strategy for these buildings.

The solar arrays will generate clean energy and the savings that creates will go towards repaying the $60 million loan and providing residents with WiFi at no cost.

John A. Crotty, principal, Workforce Housing Group, said, “We came up with this new solar powered community Wi-Fi to utilize both new technology and new financing mechanisms to deliver a sustainable and cost-effective bridge across the digital divide. This is a revolutionary model that can be sustainably replicated across the city and eventually on a national level. Solar Powered Community WIFI should become the new de facto standard for affordable housing.”

WFHG secured the $60 million funding package through NY Green Bank (NYGB) the city and NY State Housing Finance Agency. It included a Morgan Stanley grant that covered the cost of installing Flume Wi-Fi infrastructure.

Additionally, in collaboration with HFA, Workforce Housing refinanced the entire portfolio with $27 million in loans and subsidies to ensure the apartments will remain affordable and stabilized for at least the next 35 years.

You can read more about this project on the Real Estate Weekly website here.