California’s cap-and-trade program has about $832 million to support energy efficiency, public transit, affordable housing and other greenhouse gas-cutting programs statewide in 2015. Recently the program supported one of its first solar arrays at a low-income home. At least 25 percent of that will be invested in disadvantaged communities like Fresno. The solar installation was made possible through California’s Low Income Weatherization Program (LIWP).
“The funds coming to the State from selling climate allowances are now available to bring solar power and energy savings to communities throughout the state,” said California Air Resources Board Chairman Mary Nichols.
The SunPower solar panels were installed on Ricarda Mendoza and her mother’s home in Fresno’s Roosevelt neighborhood. “This program has changed our lives,” said Ricarda Mendoza. “We live on a very small income, and my husband recently became ill. The money we will save on our energy bills we will use for medications he needs. I’m also proud that we can contribute to make the environment better for all of us.”
The system is expected to reduce Mendoza’s electric bills by about 75 percent. That’s expected to save the household over $1,000 annually.
“This project demonstrates the real, tangible benefits from our growing investments to fight climate change and create a healthier state for all Californians,” said California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS) Secretary Diana S. Dooley. “This unique program makes investments to strengthen and protect communities that are the most burdened by pollution and the most vulnerable to its effects.”
The LIWP program was funded with $75 million in cap-and-trade auction proceeds from California’s 2014-15 budget. The $75 million in LIWP funds is targeted for rooftop photovoltaic solar panel systems, solar hot water heater systems and weatherization measures. The state said all the funds will support projects in disadvantaged communities.
“These investments will help power a brighter, healthier, and more prosperous future for Fresno and for cities like it across California,” said Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León. The recently installed solar array at a low-income Fresno home was made possible by Senate Bill 535. “SB 535 ensures that our most disproportionately impacted communities see the cost savings, job creation, and environmental benefits of clean energy policies.”
The state anticipated that it will install solar on 1,780 low-income households through the program. That’s expected to reach a total of 5.5 megawatts of renewable energy. The LIWP also will support weatherization on nearly 18,000 low-income homes. That will include insulation, replacing less-efficient refrigerators, water heaters and other equipment.Tweet