Gib”SUN” project brings solar power to Gibson Plaza residents

Mayor Levine Cava and Commissioner Regalado celebrate Earth Day with Gibson Plaza residents

MIAMI ( April 22, 2022 ) — 

On Earth Day, April 22, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava and District 7 Commissioner Raquel Regalado celebrated the upcoming installation of a cool roof and solar panels at Miami-Dade County’s Gibson Plaza affordable senior housing in Coconut Grove with a press conference for the soon-to-be updated building. The County’s Department of Public Housing and Community Development (PHCD) and the Office of Resilience have partnered with the Solar Energy Loan Fund (SELF), a non-profit organization and community development financial institution (CDFI) to bring solar power to elderly residents.

“I am immensely proud of this project that will greatly benefit our senior residents and our environment, our present and our future,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava. “When we work together across departments and form public private partnerships, great things happen. These solar panels and the battery back-up system make our senior housing more resilient, affordable, and safer. When the next hurricane strikes, these residents will be able to maintain power in the common areas to keep cool and stay safe in the heat.”

The project is co-funded through a generous grant to SELF from the Leon Lowenstein Foundation with additional support from the Office of Resilience. The project includes 49.8 kilowatts of solar PV with backup battery that will be installed on the new roof by Tampa Bay Solar.

“The installation of solar panels at Gibson Plaza is just the latest example of how PHCD is always looking for ways to improve and enhance the lives of our residents and community,” said Michael Liu, Director, Miami-Dade County PHCD.  “Miami-Dade County spends an average $8,500-9,000 on energy bills per year.  By installing Solar with Battery storage, we will save up to 70% in energy cost and provide an energy response mechanism for residents during a power outage. I want to thank SELF and the Leon Lowenstein Foundation for helping us bring these solar savings to our County.”

PHCD is installing a new cool roof on the building to prepare for the solar installation and to make the building more energy efficient. The project will allow for the common areas of the building to operate even if the electric grid goes down, thereby enhancing the building’s resilience and safety for residents. This is especially important as hurricane season approaches and as heat increases due to climate change.

“The solar power and energy resilience project at Gibson Plaza is destined to be a national model.  It will provide energy that works for people and the planet and help Miami-Dade become cleaner, stronger, and more resilient.  It is energy that is reliable, affordable, and safe.  Our congratulations to SELF and our thanks for the leadership provided by Mayor Levine Cava and the local agencies for making this project possible.  ¡Vienen el sol y el poder para el pueblo!” exclaimed Stewart Hudson, the Foundation’s executive director.

Representatives from Solar United Neighbors of Florida (SUN Florida) attended the event to be provide education on the installation and the benefits of solar energy to the residents. 

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