Tag Archives: Low Income Weatherization Program

California Is Giving Poor Residents Solar Energy Using Polluting Companies’ Dollars

By Robbie Couch, The Huffington Post

California’s fight against global warming is providing green energy to low-income residents — and polluting companies are footing the bill. As the San Francisco Chronicle reported, about $14.7 million raised from the Golden State’s cap and trade system is going toward an initiative by nonprofit Grid Alternatives to install solar panels on homes in disadvantaged neighborhoods for free. The program reduces energy costs for families that could use the help, while simultaneously lessening their environmental footprints.

The state’s cap and trade approach limits the amount of greenhouse gases a company can emit and forces polluting companies — like oil refineries and power plants -— to purchase credit for each ton used. Grid Alternatives is now using those credits to help families save big.

Read full article from the Huffington Post

Low-income homeowners get free solar panels thanks to cap & trade

By David R. Baker, The San Francisco Chronicle

The spread of residential solar power has been largely a middle-class affair. A 2013 study by the liberal research and advocacy group Center for American Progress found that 67 percent of solar arrays installed in California went to ZIP codes with a median household income between $40,000 and $90,000. Wealthier areas accounted for almost all of the rest.

A new California program, however, aims to make solar power available to lower-income families — using money from the state’s fight against global warming. Run by Oakland nonprofit Grid Alternatives, the effort will install home solar arrays in disadvantaged neighborhoods, using $14.7 million raised through California’s cap-and-trade system for reining in greenhouse gas emissions.

The organization specializes in solar and energy-efficiency projects in working-class communities. Using the cap-and-trade money, Grid Alternatives plans to install arrays on more than 1,600 California homes by the end of 2016. It taps job-training programs to provide the installers and relies on donated equipment from such Bay Area solar companies as SunEdison, SunPower and Enphase.

Most homeowners are asked to make small contributions for the installation, such as agreeing to feed the crew installing the array, or agreeing to help with the installation themselves. The arrays will save most homeowners $400 to $1,000 per year on electricity, depending on where they live.

Read full article in the San Francisco Chronicle