School House Apartments


25 Year Utility Savings

300 kW

Project Size

Fort Madison, IA


403,192 kWh

Annual Production

6,905 t CO₂

Emission Reduction

Award-Winning Affordable Housing Project Gets a Boost with Solar

School House Apartments Case Study

Derelict school buildings dot the prairie in Iowa’s small towns. The Fort Madison Middle School was one of them until Todd Schneider, a southeast Iowa visionary, purchased and renovated it.

Built in 1922 and decommissioned in 2013, the Middle School almost ended up in a landfill: when Schneider got involved, the city was already accepting bids for its demolition. From his previous experience renovating a Catholic school, Schneider knew he could successfully transform the Middle School into high quality, affordable apartments.

The retrofit incorporated a 300 kW solar array (200 kW roof mount and 100 kW car port) which powers 37 apartments, each with a unique floor plan, ranging in price from $600 to $1,300, including all utilities and Internet service.

The project has attracted national attention and has received multiple awards since opening in 2016.

Project Awards

2016 Project of
the Year

Solar Builder

2016 Project of
the Year

1000 Friends of Iowa
School House

“The solar aspect set our project apart and helped us win competitive grant funds. You can’t do a building like this without funding. The amount of money you need to put into it for demolition and reconstruction, you just wouldn’t get a return. ”

Todd Schneider
Apartments Administrator

school house apartments todd

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