Community and state government leaders gathered today at the home of Rancho Cordova resident Brita West to celebrate an important milestone for nonprofit GRID Alternatives and the state’s clean energy efforts: 10,000 low-income California families served with solar.
GRID Alternatives, a national leader in making clean, affordable solar power and solar jobs accessible to low-income communities and communities of color, got its start in California in 2004 and has helped the state implement several of its groundbreaking low-income solar programs, including the Single-family Affordable Solar Homes program (SASH) and the solar portion of the California Department of Community Services and Development’s Low-Income Weatherization Program. Over 95% of GRID’s California installations have been funded through these programs, with additional support from GRID’s philanthropic and local government partners.
“GRID’s work represents smart energy policy in action,” said Edward Randolph, Energy Division Director at the California Public Utilities Commission, which led the way on SASH. “The CPUC continually seeks ways for California communities to benefit from clean energy technologies and the job opportunities the transition is bringing.”
Taken together, these systems represent 36 MW of clean power sited in and benefiting environmentally and economically disadvantaged communities. Participating households are expected to save $290 million in electricity costs. The projects have also provided solar training and education for 27,000 people.
“California has been a pioneer in making sure that lower-income residents and communities that bear a disproportionate burden of pollution are able to benefit in concrete ways from the state’s clean energy investments,” said Erica Mackie, CEO and co-founder of GRID Alternatives. “We are proud and grateful to have worked alongside partners both in the public and private sector to accomplish this incredible milestone, and look forward to doing even more together.”
GRID’s success in implementing these programs has helped spur additional investments both in California and nationally for low-income solar, including new programs in Washington, D.C., Illinois and Colorado. On June 21, the California Public Utilities Commission approved a 12-year solar rebate program for low-income homeowners living in disadvantaged communities that builds upon the success of the SASH program.
Brita West, who got a new roof on her home through Rebuilding Together and the City of Rancho Cordova in preparation for her installation, is ecstatic about the project.
“Everyone coming together today is a really great thing,” said Ms. West. “I’ll be retiring in three years, and one of my big goals is to reduce my bills. I never really understood solar, but now I do and I know it will be a big help.”
The system will save her around $30 a month on her electricity bills. Job trainees from GRID’s Installation Basics Training program and Northern California Construction Training received hands-on installation training through the project.
News item from GRID Alternatives