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Hudson, Related, CAMBA power up giant Brooklyn solar project

The Hudson Companies Inc., Related and CAMBA have started work on the biggest solar power project of its type in the state.

The development partners are building a 214,000 watt solar electric photovoltaic (PV) system at Gateway Elton Phase I, their 197-unit mixed-use affordable housing development in the Spring Creek section of Brooklyn.

The PV system surpasses Hudson’s Dumont Green Development as the largest solar electric system of its kind on a residential building in New York State. According to solar PV system designer Bright Power, the installation will offset almost 300,000 lbs. of carbon dioxide per year, which is the equivalent of over 6,400 — or almost eight acres – of mature trees.

The PV system will offset the common area electrical demand by 68%. Gateway Elton Phase I is also on track to be certified as a LEED Platinum development.

“To have the largest solar panel system in New York State installed on a low-income development speaks to a new found wisdom at the Federal, State and City levels that has fostered the merging of job creation, alternative energy and the construction of new affordable housing,” said Hudson’s David Kramer.

“Affordable housing, which is most vulnerable to rising operating costs, is the best vehicle for demonstrating the feasibility of alternative energy sources.” Mathew Wambua, Commissioner of New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) said the porject is evidence that “affordable housing development is not only feasible but can also be trailblazing.”

Construction activity is expected to create 950 indirect and direct jobs. The development, at 1149, 1152, 1165 and 1166 Elton St., is also the second affordable housing development in Brooklyn to utilize a PV system after Hudson’s Dumont Green.

All of the units will have EnergyStar appliances, vinyl-free construction, dual-flush toilets and be affordable to families earning between below 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI), or $46,080 for a family of four. Additionally, 40 units are set aside for individuals sponsored by the NY State Office of Mental Health (OMH).

For low-income developments such as this where rents are capped by tenant income levels, operational savings will help to insure the long term financial viability of the building against future increases in utility expenses.

Joanne M. Oplustil, executive director of CAMBA Housing Ventures/CAMBA, said, “The heart of this project is ‘renewal.’ These affordable homes will bring transformational renewal to both the Spring Creek community and to the people who will live here.”

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