St. Francis Square Cooperative Goes Solar

St. Francis Article Image 

In 2012, National Cooperative Bank (NCB) reported a banner year in lending activity for its cooperative housing division, providing $962 million in building finance for 511 properties nationwide. These communities used the funds for needs ranging from refinancing existing debt to undertaking capital improvements.  One cooperative, St. Francis Square Cooperative, Inc located in San Francisco, CA opted to reduce their carbon footprint and implement a new solar power electric system. For the Bank, arranging loans that supports the ‘greening’ of cooperatives furthers its mandate to be a socially-responsible institution dedicated to making a positive impact on the communities it serves.     

St. Francis Square Cooperative, a 299-unit housing co-op worked with the Bank to secure a $1 million line of credit as part of its plan to install a solar power electric system, converting from their current solar hot water system. The cooperative’s healthy reserve funds were used to cover the cost of the solar installation and roof repairs, and the Board opted to secure the line of credit with NCB to cover any unanticipated problems that may result from this project The upgrade to solar was for two main reasons: the opportunity to reduce the property’s carbon footprint and to save substantially on its steadily increasing utility bills.   

The new solar energy system will reduce St. Francis Square’s electric costs dramatically, saving the cooperative $178,000 yearly, nearly a 60 percent reduction. Even with accounting for weather variations, the cooperative expects to recover the cost of the entire installation in just seven years. 

As a member-owned, mission-driven organization, the Bank has decades of expertise in meeting the needs of cooperatives communities, and has a team dedicated to funding solar initiatives.  

“NCB understands the importance of renewable energy and we are committed to securing funds for projects like St. Francis Square, that allow these organizations take advantage of the benefits of solar energy,” said  Chuck Snyder, President and CEO of National Cooperative Bank.  

The Bank is actively funding numerous solar projects across the country. From St. Francis Square to repurposing a dormant landfill for the development of renewable energy in Ludlow, Massachusetts, NCB is committed to making a difference, and will continue to increase this type of funding to build stronger communities nationwide.