Tabco Towers achieves significant savings with community solar
Tabco Towers Senior Housing is a green-certified community in Maryland that offers affordable housing to low- and moderate-income residents over the age of sixty-two. It’s a 22-story high-rise with 200 units, and it runs almost entirely on electricity, including its heating system, water heater, AC, and more.
The property is owned by Wishrock Group, a national developer of affordable and workforce housing. Wishrock is actively working to improve energy performance across their portfolio. As a sustainability-conscious company, it works to implement renewable energy sources (like solar) when possible. In the case of Tabco Towers, they decided to take a risk-free route.
Because Tabco Towers is such a high user of electricity and is master-metered, it generates a substantial monthly electric bill. However, the property couldn’t install solar panels on its roof because the space was already being leased for cell towers and the owners didn’t want to disrupt this established stream of revenue.
Additionally, as a provider of affordable housing in Maryland, there were specific sustainability requirements Tabco Towers needed to meet. The property had already achieved its Enterprise Green Community certification, but it was always on the lookout for ways to further reduce its impact on the environment.
For these reasons, Tabco Towers sought an alternative solar solution. It had its eye on community solar and was simply waiting on the Maryland state program to takeoff.
It’s kind of a no-brainer. Sign a piece of paper and save money without tying up other assets or doing anything that would harm the property in the future.
The solar stars aligned for Tabco Towers in 2021. They enrolled in Maryland’s community solar program, where all Marylanders — including multi-dwelling unit managers — are eligible to participate and receive utility bill savings while supporting local solar energy.
As projects started to be developed, Arcadia reached out to Tabco Towers about a local community solar project. Soon after, they signed up for Arcadia’s Community Solar for Businesses. The rollout was simple and after a few months (a common waiting period in which the subscriber isn’t billed for their participation) the savings began rolling in.
“It’s been really seamless," said Kevin Rose, Executive Vice President of Wishrock Group. "We get billed monthly and we get the adjustment monthly.”
Tabco Towers is thrilled with the savings they’ve received through their participation in Arcadia’s Community Solar for Business. In their first year alone, they saved over $28,000, or 12% savings on their annual spend.
“It’s very meaningful to have this kind of savings in the affordable housing market," said Rose.
These savings are invaluable for many reasons. Not only do they offset regular operating expenses, but they also help to counteract inflation and other rising costs like insurance rates. This is especially important in the context of affordable housing. Regulations prevent Tabco Towers from increasing the cost of rent — a key element in keeping housing affordable for LMI residents — which places an ever-increasing financial burden on the property.
Tabco Towers is Wishrock’s first community solar property, but it won’t be the last. Wishrock is interested in subscribing other Maryland properties, as well. The company is also closely monitoring programs in other states. If and when the circumstances are right, they will likely subscribe other properties.