Partners for Better Housing
Partners for Better Housing
Partners for Better Housing

Partners for Better Housing



Bringing solar power to working class families in the Ozarks

Awarded:: TA Voucher, Participant

Team Information

Team Lead
Michael Ward
Team Lead LinkedIn Profile
View Profile 1, View Profile 2

Project Description

Project / Program Description

Our project, Homes at Willow Bend, is a mixed-income Traditional Neighborhood Development located on nine acres in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The primary goals of the project are to develop quality homes at affordable prices and to help working class families build wealth through homeownership. One-third of the planned 80 single family homes will be sold to families with incomes of 50%-80% of Area Median Income, one-third will be sold to families with incomes of 80%-100% of Area Median Income, and the final third of the homes will have no stipulations for buyers. The affordability of 2/3 of the homes is made possible by a $1,000,000 contribution from the City of Fayetteville. The guiding principles of the neighborhood design include walkability, neighborhood connectivity, sustainable stormwater management, low-impact development practices, and energy efficient houses. The integration of solar panels into our neighborhood is yet another opportunity to increase the sustainability of the neighborhood. 

Fayetteville is ready for solar power, and Willow Bend is a unique opportunity to demonstrate the impact that solar panels have on home values in our market. One of the barriers to widespread adoption of solar is that appraisers in our market cannot find sales comparables proving that solar panels add value to a home. Since we will be building several sets of identical homes over the next 18 months, we propose to install rooftop solar on some, but not all, of our homes. This plan will result in the perfect sales comparable - two identical homes in the same condition, in the same neighborhood, with only one difference: one will have solar, and the other will not. We expect that the solar homes will sell at a premium. Our sales will create the data that local appraisers need to justify the value that solar panels add to homes, not only in the Willow Bend neighborhood but throughout the local market. We will create sales comparables that can be used to increase the value of solar homes throughout Fayetteville and the Northwest Arkansas area. 

In addition to economy-wide benefits, solar panels will benefit LMI homeowners in the Willow Bend neighborhood through savings in electricity bills, the 30% tax credit, and increased home values. We are focused on delivering homes that are not only affordable to purchase, but affordable to live in and commute from. Including solar panels is a unique and innovative way to further our mission of helping families build wealth through the ownership of quality houses in a place they can call home.