Chico >> Many area resident are now eligible for a program that will install free solar panels on their homes.
Nonprofit solar installer GRID Alternatives can provide solar power at no cost for up to 15 low-income homeowners in Chico.
Oroville and Thermalito also have a GRID program for low-income families interested in solar. Residents are invited to attend the workshop for more information.
The Solar Affordable Housing Program in Chico is supported by city Community Development Block Grant funding. The entire program will provide families with about $450,000 in electricity savings during the lifetime of the system, as well as prevent 900 tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
GRID is hosting two free informational workshops this fall to find out who is eligible for the program. The first is 7-8 p.m. Tuesday at the Dorothy Johnson Center, 775 East 16th St., Chico.
Those who discover they are not eligible can still benefit from the workshop, which will cover energy efficiency and include refreshments and free home energy savers packages.
The program accepts families who are eligible on a first-come, first-serve basis. If the maximum is reached, those families will be added to a waiting list.
For questions or to RSVP, contact Sanja Cerni at 217-6116.
The Solar Affordable Housing Program expanded this year because statewide funding eligibility changed to include certain neighborhoods in the city. This includes those in South Chico, The Avenues and Chapmantown, according to GRID Alternatives North Valley spokeswoman Rebekah Casey. Before, eligibility was restricted to just those who lived in qualified affordable housing.
The program will operate in conjunction with the city’s housing rehabilitation program, Casey said. Five families in need of minor roof repair will receive roof work with the solar installation.
GRID Alternatives’ goal is to install a solar unit that can cover 85 percent of the electricity bill, Casey said, saving low-income families money.
“There’s a lot of people that I think are working really hard that could use something like this,” Casey said. “This is a really exciting program in that it helps a segment of the community that there’s not a lot of resources for.”
Grid Alternatives Solar Program for Low-Income Families Expands, by Ashiah Scharaga, Chico Enterprise-Record, September 19, 2016.