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Anza Electric, Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians recipients of CSD solar grant through GRID Alternatives


Last updated 6/26/2019 at 3:14pm

The California Department of Community Services and Development (CSD) on Wednesday, June 26 announced final awards totaling $4.4 million to GRID Alternatives for two Community Solar Pilot projects in Contra Costa and Riverside Counties.

These first-in-California low-income community solar projects are part of California Climate Investments and will make the cost-saving benefits of solar energy accessible to more low-income households while contributing to California’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

GRID Alternatives Inland Empire was awarded $2.05 million to install a 994 kilowatt (kW) ground-mounted solar array in partnership with the Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians and the Anza Electric Cooperative, Inc. The community solar system will be sited on Santa Rosa Tribal lands in Riverside County, an area designated as a low-income community, and will benefit approximately 38 homes on tribal land and 150-250 other low-income households served by Anza Electric.

The project is expected to produce more than 42,000,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy over the next 30 years and provide up to $5.4 million in savings to participants over the life of the project.

“CSD is excited to have the opportunity to pilot new program models like community solar to help ensure that the investments the state is making to fight climate change continue to benefit all Californians,” said CSD Director Linné Stout. “The innovative projects that are being funded under the Community Solar Pilot Program will deliver financial savings to low-income households that otherwise can’t be served by existing solar programs, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

The Community Solar Pilot Program, part of CSD’s Low-Income Weatherization Program (LIWP), is designed to reduce energy costs for households that are not currently able to benefit from existing low-income solar programs. Most Californians face barriers to traditional rooftop solar, including those who rent, don’t have a roof suitable for solar, who live in an apartment building, or lack financing options. Well-designed community solar increases access to clean renewable energy by enabling multiple households or buildings to participate in a larger scale shared solar installation located in their community.

The goal of CSD’s Community Solar Pilot Program 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 elsewhere and to scale, reduce greenhouse gas and toxic air emissions, reduce household energy costs, and provide workforce development opportunities and other co-benefits to communities.

"Community solar can provide more equitable access to renewable power and the clean energy economy. We're thrilled to be part of California's first community solar projects which will exclusively benefit low-income families," said Stan Greschner, chief policy and business development officer with GRID Alternatives. "Not only will the Community Solar Pilot Program directly lower residents’ energy costs and provide workforce development opportunities in low-income communities, but these projects will be models for scalable programs in the future."

“The Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians is proud to partner with Anza Electric Cooperative and GRID Alternatives to provide clean energy to not only Tribal Members, but also other surrounding mountain community members,” said Tribal Chairman, Steven Estrada. “We are thankful for the opportunity to facilitate this project by using our tribal lands in a sustainable way.”

“Anza Electric is very excited to be a part of this ground-breaking solar opportunity for our members,” said AEC General Manager Kevin Short. “This system will provide access to low cost renewable energy for income qualified residents that may not have the opportunity otherwise. We’re happy to see such an innovative use of cap-and-trade resources in our service territory, and we look forward to working closely with GRID Alternatives and the Santa Rosa Tribal Members to make this resource a reality.”


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