Solar energy has always been a popular choice for Californian households, but have only been feasible for those who can afford it. One reason that most low income homes find it hard to install solar panels is due to the initial cost of solar installation which begins from $15,000 upwards.
This has meant that only middle and higher income families have the chance to a more sustainable future with less, if not zero, carbon footprint.
A worthy program, however, will prove to be the ultimate game changer as more homes will have a chance to harness the sun’s power in the race to energy sustainability.
Government Funds Struggling Low Income Families
For years, the government has raised money to aid the fight against climate change, a problem plaguing the worldwide community. The money gathered has spearheaded the Grid Alternatives Project, an initiative with a goal of sanctioning industrial and commercial polluters to fund the installation of solar arrays for low-income homes.
As reported in the San Francisco Chronicle, this project aims to effectively utilize the “cap-and-trade” funds raised from sanctioning companies’ payments for their carbon dioxide emissions.
Grid Alternatives was appointed to handle the $162-million solar repayment system called SASH (Single Family Affordable Solar Homes). By the end of 2016, the project aims to generate rooftop solar power systems to over 1,600 low-income homes across the state.
In order to keep the cost as low as possible, the project will be utilizing job training programs along with donations and pledges from solar companies. The project is completely free for recipients and the only gesture asked from home owners is to offer food to the contractors doing the installation.
Companies Cut Greenhouse Emissions to Fund Solar Installations
For this project alone, the state of California will use $14.7 million worth of funds raised from the cap-and-trade system. This particular payment system aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions as well as to make good use of the income generated from such emissions. This fund will be used solely for solar array installations for the low income families.
To date, the cap-and-trade system has accumulated an astounding $1.6 billion. By utilizing at least 10% of this money back into the generation of sustainable solar energy, the system will not only provide money-saving alternative for low income families but it will also encourage big companies to cut their fossil fuel emissions. This makes the matter doubly effective.
To qualify for the California solar panels free installation program, a family must pass the stipulated SASH eligibility clause. For instance, a household’s total income should be 80% of the AMI (Area Median Income) or less and the home must be occupied by the applicant or the residence must also be California Public utilities Code 2852 compliant, among others.
Through this program, low income families can have as much as $1000 savings per annum which they can put towards other basic needs like food. The Grid Alternatives project will end in 2021. For those who are living in the state and qualify for the program, an application form can be obtained from the SASH website.