Cohousing community walks the talk with solar power

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Challenges

Transition an eco-village to solar power using a company with like-minded sustainability values.

Solutions

Panasonic 330W HIT® solar panels delivered renewable solar power for residences and the Common House.

Results

A community proud to generate 51kW of sustainable energy, including three net-zero homes.

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Project Details

  • Solar panel installer: RevoluSun, Burlington, MA
  • Customer: Private homeowners & HOA/Condo association at Mosaic Commons
  • Property types: Four townhomes, one common building
  • Rooftop solar products used: 155 Panasonic HIT® 330W panels across five structures
  • Power production: 51.1kW DC, estimated to generate 4,900 kWh of power monthly

Helping a unique collaborative community realize its eco-friendly values

Sometimes people lead the way to a better life. Such was the case at Mosaic Commons, a unique cohousing community located in the small rural town of Berlin, MA, 45 miles west of Boston. After seeing several residents successfully use Panasonic Elite Installer, RevoluSun, to install solar panels on their townhomes, management decided to follow suit with its own switch to solar power.

Mosaic Commons is a collaborative community that “attempts to overcome the alienation of modern subdivisions where no one knows their neighbors and there is no sense of community.” Diverse, vibrant and inclusive, their values are rooted in sharing, generosity, respect, eco-friendliness, health, diversity, among other admirable traits.

Residents even share resources like cars, lawnmowers and tools, along with organic gardens and homegrown produce. Everyone comes together at the Common House - for shared meals, games and entertainment, meetings, parties, and other activities.

 

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The Challenge

The management at Mosaic Commons appreciated their residents going solar. Since all members of the community are eco-minded, Mosaic Commons thought it would be fitting for its main gathering building to be greener, too. Because the Common House is the center of the community, physically and socially, the eco-village requested that solar panels be placed on this structure as well.

All buildings in the village meet or surpass many LEED requirements for green buildings. Therefore, the main concern was that the Common House building had to be extremely "green”. It was also important to have a strong, reliable power source because the building is so central to the village and residents’ lifestyle. Another requirement: they wanted to use a solar manufacturer that demonstrated a history of sustainability and eco-friendly business practices.

 

The Solution

Residents and management appreciated Panasonic's longstanding experience with solar power (over 45 years) and both company’s track record of commitment to a sustainable world. They also valued Panasonic's focus on recycling and reducing the use of new materials.

"We had a ton of fun with this project,” said Richie Bonney, RevoluSun VP of Project Development and Project Manager. “It was exciting to install solar on an eco-village that shares our core beliefs."

On the Common House, RevoluSun installed a 24.75 kW solar system consisting of 75 Panasonic HIT® 330-watt panels. This high-efficiency renewable energy system more than halved the building’s utility bill, reducing their electric costs by 53%. This is in addition to the four homeowners that also went solar on the personal townhomes. The consolidated project performed by RevoluSun, and its positive impacts on carbon emissions, is shown below:

 

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The Result

The installation covered four residential townhomes and the Common House, with the combined solar systems producing an average of 4,905 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity monthly. Compared to the same amount of power generated by a fossil fuel power plant, the positive environmental results are equal to:

  • Equivalent greenhouse gas emissions avoided from 103,000 miles driven by the average car
  • Carbon sequestered by 688 tree seedlings grown for 10 years or 54 acres of US forests for one year

"In creating and recreating our community, we intend to make decisions that are practical and ecological now and for the long-term,” said a Mosaic Commons manager. “We hope to create a lasting community with well-designed and well cared for buildings and grounds."