ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — As the temperature drops, electric bills go up, but several affordable housing communities around Rochester are benefitting from an unlikely source. Solar energy generated from a solar array in Wayne County. 

Tucked behind a rural neighborhood in Ontario is over six thousand solar panels that sit on around a dozen acres.  

“The power from the project is being used at multiple affordable housing communities,” according to Kevin Schulte, CEO of GreenSpark Solar, “via Home Leasing around the greater Rochester area to lower the overall costs at those communities and those facilities.”

The homeowners in Ontario wanted to put solar panels on his land and offer energy to those that need it most. They reached out to GreenSpark Solar, who contacted Home Leasing. “In New York, we have the benefit of a bunch of policies that allow us to put a solar project anywhere on the utility grid on the distribution grid, and send that power, the benefit of that power or electricity, to any customer within the same utility territory.” This project is one of many that GreenSpark Solar was able to complete. The project went online at the end of 2020. 


“By using the solar farm, we’re going to reduce the cost of electricity for these communities and also provide a fair return on investment,” said chairman of Home Leasing Nelson Leenhouts. Many that live in affordable housing communities do not have the option to become more sustainable with their home heating choices. This helps them achieve that goal. 

“It fits our mission in life, which is to provide good housing but also not do any harm to the environment, in fact improve the environment.” said Leenhouts. 

The solar farm produces 2.6MW of energy. The electricity will be distributed to over five hundred affordable housing apartments across the greater Rochester region. There is no signing up with this program as it will remain a part of the energy portfolio used by the facilities.