Grant helps Va. Habitat for Humanity add solar energy systems to homes

Habitat for Humanity has started to add solar to projects in D.C. and Virginia. (Courtesy Fauquier Habitat for Humanity/Bendure Communications)

Fauquier Habitat for Humanity in Virginia has become the first to install solar panels on its homes, under a $500,000 carbon offset grant from the American Institute of Architects.

The grant, awarded to Habitat for Humanity Virginia, launches a two-year project that could see solar energy systems installed on as many as 80 Habitat homes in the state.

The first was recently installed on a home at 152 Haiti Street in Warrenton. Fauquier Habitat estimates the solar panels could save the new homeowner, who moves in sometime in April, as much as $75 a month in utility bills.

The Warrenton project also had a little financial help from James Jackson, a high school senior at Flint Hill School in Oakton and the grandson of Charles Wurster, a founding member of the Environmental Defense Fund.

Jackson set up a GoFundMe page and raised $2,000 toward the cost of the installation. He and some fellow students also helped with the installations.

Fauquier Habitat has built 61 homes to date, with three others expected to be completed this year. Homeowners who qualify to buy the houses at a subsidized rate pass stringent qualification requirements, including earning less than 80% of Area Median Income, with most earning between 30% and 60%.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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