Non-profit organisation GRID Alternatives is to give 1,600 free solar panels to California’s poorest families by 2016.
The initiative is funded from California’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF), and results from a bill authored by Democratic senator Kevin de LeÃ³n that directs a portion of the fund to people in need.
When you have a budget like ours, which is stretched just about as far as you can go, it makes a big difference– Roy Rivera, a California resident on a fixed income
"These investments will bring energy savings, quality jobs, and environmental benefits where they are needed most," de LeÃ³n said in a statement by GRID Alternatives.
One solar installation has already been set up in Sacramento by a team of job trainees from the Sacramento Regional Conservation Corps.
The 2.5KW system will save resident Roy Rivera, who is disabled and lives on fixed income, an estimated $818 in the first year and $22,800 over the system’s 30-year lifetime.
Rivera said: "We hope the savings will help defray some of my medical costs. When you have a budget like ours, which is stretched just about as far as you can go, it makes a big difference."
The funds for the projects were awarded to GRID Alternatives under the Low Income Weatherization Program, which funded $75m in GGRF proceeds in the California’s 2014-15 budget.
Image: Senators Kevin de Leon and Dr. Richard Pan examine a solar panel with job trainees (GRID Alternatives)