The Vintage Oaks Senior Apartment complex is a 241-unit affordable senior housing complex, located on Stock Ranch Road in Citrus Heights. USA Properties Fund, Inc. (USA Properties) owns and maintains the complex. In December 2009, USA Properties began a significant renovation of the Vintage Oaks Senior Apartment Complex in Citrus Heights to improve energy efficiency, affordability, and livability.
As part of a Low-Income Housing Tax Credit financing effort, the project included:
Photovoltaic Panel System
By far the largest improvement was the installation of a 475-kilowatt roof-mounted photovoltaic panel system throughout the complex. "We had done a few other projects with solar installations," said USA Properties Project Manager Santiago del Rio, "but not to this scale." The solar panels provide approximately 83% of the energy required for each rental unit as well as 90% of the energy required for the common areas including the clubhouse.
According to Wade Hughes, manager of SMUD's SolarSmart program, virtual net metering takes advantage of great economies of scale. Under a traditional net metering system, each unit would require its own solar panel and its own inverter, as well as an additional meter.
Such a configuration would not have been possible at Vintage Oaks because "there's not enough space on the side of the building," said Hughes. Instead, virtual net metering allows for
Without such a configuration, SMUD could not deliver the benefits of solar energy to a population that has been largely under-served, the low- and very low-income seniors. Hughes said the average tenant's electric bill has been reduced from $26 to just $7 dollars a month.
The Vintage Oaks project received recognition and an award from the publication, State and Local Energy Report.