Mayor Muriel Bowser was in Rosedale this morning to highlight the effort to combine energy efficiency and affordable housing initiatives at an opening ceremony for a group of townhomes and condos.

The 17 Solar luxury condos and townhomes officially opened today at the intersection of 17th and D streets NE. The nine new houses on the block have ground-floor flats, which will be sold at below-market rates, and rooftop solar panels that will provide a portion of electricity for the homes. The second and third floors of each house will be condos sold at market rate.

“Too frequently, we don’t have these energy-saving options on our units that are below market rate,” Bowser said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony. “To mix the two is very important here.”

Bowser said she hopes to sponsor future projects that will bring alternative energy to affordable housing units. She also stressed the importance of these properties bringing ownership opportunities — a sentiment that was echoed by ANC 6A commissioner Sondra Phillips-Gilbert, whose district includes 17 Solar.

“I am just so excited that we have new development in the Rosedale community, and most importantly, that we have affordable housing options for those who are first-time homeowners,” Phillips-Gilbert said.

After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Bowser and community members took a tour of one of the houses, which had wood floors, metal accents and floor-to-ceiling windows. Several residents of the new homes were present at the ceremony, and a developer told Bowser during the tour that many of the new tenants came from outside of the Capitol Hill area.


Solar power use (Image via Mapdwell)

A new interactive map created by M.I.T. researchers and the city shows how much local families could save by installing solar power systems.

The D.C. Solar Tool shows where solar systems have already been installed, their annual output and about how much residents save. One building near Eastern Market, for example, has had a system since 2013 and helps the owners save an estimated $588 a year on energy costs.

In addition to showing where the systems already exist, the tool created with the D.C. Department of the Environment shows what kind of investment can produce what savings. It’s all searchable by address.

“With just a few clicks, the D.C. Solar Tool shows District of Columbia residents, businesses, and property owners how much electricity can be produced on their rooftops from solar photovoltaic systems, how the financial investment will pay off and how much pollution will be reduced,” the website says.

The data takes into account rooftop shape, weather, shade and vegetation.

The D.C. Solar Tool is part of the District’s push for increased solar energy use. Mayor Vincent Gray set out for 2.5 percent of the District’s power to be solar by 2023. Free installation of solar panels are available now to low-income residents.

Image via Mapdwell


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