Environment Ohio
The Cleveland Plain Dealer
Dave Davis

CLEVELAND, Ohio--The Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority is about to flip the switch on one of Ohio's largest solar farms -- an installation of 4,212 energy-generating panels on six acres of a previously vacant brownfield next to the agency's headquarters in Cleveland's Kinsman neighborhood.

CMHA officials expect the solar farm will save millions dollars on electricity over the 30-year life of the panels and they hope the cutting-edge project will burnish the image of one of the nation's largest and oldest public housing authorities.

The agency, which turns 80 in 2013, provides housing to about 55,000 poor people in Cuyahoga County.

"This may help change the way people look at [public] housing," said Jeffrey Patterson, CMHA's chief executive officer. "Maybe there is some shine coming from these solar panels.

"This is a little bit different for us," Patterson added. "But I hope in the future we can look at doing other projects like this, other sustainable things, that allow us to be environmentally friendly and also reduce costs."

The project is a head-turner in Cleveland's Forgotten Triangle, a part of the Kinsman neighborhood where residents joke that the population doubles at night when outsiders arrive to illegally dump tires and debris in vacant lots.

The solar farm takes up about half of a 12-acre brownfield owned by CMHA next to its new three-story headquarters. On sunny days, the solar farm is expected to generate enough electricity to power the 73,495 square-foot building -- the equivalent of about what's required for 100 homes...

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