$4.4 million to develop solar pilot for the projects in California
For two Community Solar Pilot Projects in Contra Costa and Riverside Counties, the California Department of Community Services and Development (CSD) has granted GRID Alternatives $4.4 million. These first-in-California community solar initiatives are component of California Climate Investments and will provide more low-income households with access to solar energy. California Climate Investments is a national initiative using Cap-and-Trade dollars to assist decrease greenhouse gas emissions, reinforce the economy, and enhance public health and the environment, especially in disadvantaged groups.
“CSD is happy to have the chance to pilot fresh program models such as community solar to assist guarantee that all Californians continue to profit from the investments the state is making to combat climate change,” CSD director Linné Stout said. Innovative projects funded under the Community Solar Pilot Program will provide financial savings for low-income households that can not otherwise be served by current solar programs, while also decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.’ The Community Solar Pilot Program, part of the Low-Income Weatherization Program (LIWP) of the CSD, is intended to decrease energy expenses for families that are affected by the project. Most Californians face obstacles to traditional solar on the rooftop, including renters, have no solar-friendly roof, live in an apartment building, or absence funding alternatives.
The objective of the Community Solar Pilot Program of CSD is to provide funding for the implementation and testing of models to deliver community solar to low-income households in innovative ways that have the potential to be replicated and scale-up elsewhere, reduce greenhouse gas and toxic air emissions, reduce household energy costs and provide opportunities for workforce development and other co-benefits.
“The solar community can provide a fairer access to renewable energy and a clean energy economy. We are excited to be part of the first community solar projects in California that will solely benefit low-income households, “said Stan Greschner, GRID Alternatives chief policy and business development officer. “The Community Solar Pilot Program will not only directly reduce energy expenses for inhabitants and provide possibilities for workforce development in low-income areas, but these projects will be models for scalable programs in the future.” Following a competitive procurement process, CSD chosen two projects led by GRID Alternatives to obtain funding under the Pilot. For these community solar initiatives, GRID has partnered with the Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians and City of Richmond.
Pilot project 1 GRID Alternatives Inland Empire in collaboration with the Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians and the Anza Electric Cooperative, Inc. has been granted $2.05 million to install a 994 kilowatt (kW) ground-mounted solar array. The community solar system will be located in Riverside County on Santa Rosa Tribal lands, an area designated as a low-income society, benefiting roughly 38 homes on tribal land and 150-250 other low-income households served by Anza Electric. Over the next 30 years, the project is expected to produce more than 42,000,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy and provide up to $5.4 million in savings over the life of the project to participants.
“Cahuilla Indians ‘ Santa Rosa Band is proud to partner with Anza Electric Cooperative and GRID Alternatives to provide clean energy not only to tribal members but also to other members of the nearby mountain group,” said Steven Estrada, Tribal Chairman. “We are grateful for the opportunity to facilitate this project by using our tribal lands in a sustainable manner.” Pilot project 2 GRID Alternatives Bay Area was awarded $2.38 million in collaboration with the City of Richmond to install a 989-kW solar array. The community solar system will be located at Richmond Port and shows how solar can play a important role in decarbonizing the ports of California. In designated poor groups in Richmond, the project will benefit 155 low-income households. Approximately 80 to 95% of subscribers are expected to be inhabitants of affordable residential properties close the Port of Richmond who are not excellent candidates for solar rooftops; and who will receive direct economic advantages equivalent to roughly 75% of typical renter energy expenses. The remaining 5 to 20 percent of subscribers will be local renters and homeowners unable to take advantage of current low-income solar programs. For allocation to local low-income households, the community solar project is anticipated to produce about $81,000 per year in income over 20 years.
“This is a good illustration of how towns can leverage land use authority and community energy choices programs to stimulate the growth of local clean energy,” said Mayor Tom Butt. “There is a wealthy history of shipbuilding and manufacturing in the Port of Richmond during the Second World War, and now we are using the same creative spirit to construct renewable energy systems that offset the energy expenses of citizens.” Each community solar project will provide training in solar installations and satisfy particular local hiring and salary criteria. During the solar installation, inhabitants of the Santa Rosa Band will be involved in paid work training options for the Santa Rosa project. It is projected that both projects will be finished by the first quarter of 2021.