Ryan Beck Photography

Nonprofit developer National Community Renaissance has built its first all-electric, net-zero-energy community. With 380 kilowatts of photovoltaic solar panels on the community’s roofs and carports, the 101-unit Vista Verde in Ontario, California, is providing 100% of its energy through the on-site renewable systems.

“Being all-electric and having such a large solar photovoltaic system, the energy bills are very low for the residents as well as for us as the operator, which is a huge benefit,” says Ashley Wright, senior vice president at National CORE.

Ryan Beck Photography

Vista Verde is a centerpiece in the city’s plan to revitalize its downtown district and a vital component of Ontario Together, a community-driven movement to achieve sustainable neighborhood transformation through implementation of greenhouse gas reduction projects. Together, the city and National CORE applied for a grant from the California Strategic Growth Council’s Transformative Climate Communities (TCC) program. Vista Verde was one of three recipients in the first-ever funding round, receiving a $35 million grant. In addition to providing financing for the development of the community, the grant will also provide bus passes for residents, two new buses, expanded bus routes, and 99 new trees planted.

The LEED v4 Gold-certified development, which serves individuals and families earning between 30% and 60% of the area median income, also boasts an ultra-tight building envelope, electric water heaters in each unit, water-conserving plumbing fixtures, energy-efficient appliances, drought-tolerant landscaping, and a smart irrigation system. It also has the infrastructure to accommodate an electric vehicle charger for every resident.

In addition to the TCC grant, the $36.7 million development was financed through 4% low-income housing tax credits and bonds. It also was able to receive the benefits of being located in a Qualified Opportunity Zone.