Tennessee capitalists are coming to help Rapid City address its shortage of affordable housing with a six-building, 249-unit apartment complex on the east side of town near Menards. Of course, the real builders are we the taxpayers:
The housing will be available to those earning 60% or less than the average income in the area. The project — one of several around the country by Tennessee-based Elmington Capital Group — will cost about $78 million, according to local company representative Ryan Tobin. About 70% of the money will come from federal, state or local government sources, including incentives for sustainable development.
…The project, located at 1725 Camden Drive in eastern Rapid City, near a shopping area anchored by a Menards store, will feature 200 family units and 49 senior living units distributed across the six three-story buildings. The development is on 27.53 acres.
The site will contain 440 parking spaces, three communal patios, two community spaces, a playground, a dog park and walking trails [Joshua Haiar, “Rapid City Apartments Would Offset All Their Energy Use with Solar Panels,” South Dakota Searchlight, 2023.09.09].
In addition to helping low-income folks and their dogs enjoy roofs over their heads, we’re getting some good solar bang for our subsidy buck:
In a partnership with RPG Energy Group, 15.5 acres of the development will feature a solar array with 3,600 panels that will produce enough electricity during the daytime and send enough extra energy to the grid to offset 100% of the development’s electricity use. The complex will also have a battery system to store solar energy for peak-use periods.
Rather than supplying and measuring electricity for each individual unit within the complex, the energy company will supply power to the complex as a whole. The bill will be split evenly among residents [Haiar, 2023.09.09].
Obviously this apartment complex will still need some juice from the grid when its dark outside and any onsite batteries run low. But the solar farm included with the complex is an interesting example of how we can significantly reduce the demand new housing may put on local utilities, in this case by taking advantage of free and untapped energy.