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Program Offers No Cost Solar, Including Low Income Residents in Environmental Protection
By by Jennifer Bihm, Staff Writer
Published October 5, 2017

The GRID Alternatives program allows low income residents to take part in environmental safety and to save 50 to 90 percent in energy costs. (stock photo)

Members of the community based organization, GRID Alternatives are encouraging Los Angeles County residents to see if they qualify for a no cost solar program that will save them 50 to 90 percent on their energy bill. There are no hidden costs, no surprises, no need for credit reports and there is no catch, say program officials. GRID is a non profit organization, they said, connecting families to government programs that allow them to provide the service to the community.

“This program is truly no cost,” explained certified solar panel technician Orlanda Cunningham.

“We got a grant from the state and we have donations from private companies like Tesla, Google and Wells Fargo…”

Requirements include owning and living in the qualifying home and the energy bill(s) must be in the recipient’s name. Income eligibility depends on the household size, for instance one person can make under 60,000 dollars per year. Property taxes will not go up because of the service.

“The whole intention of the program is to save families money,” said Cunningham.

“We work in designated areas, which are called Cap and Trade. Cap and Trade, by the state is defined by the higher commissioned areas. [For instance] the city of Carson, the city of Compton, the city of Gardena all are in Cap and Trade areas…”

The cap on greenhouse gas emissions is a limit backed by science, according to the Environmental Defense Fund.

“Companies pay penalties if they exceed the cap, which gets stricter over time,” said EDF officials via their website.

“The trade part is a market for companies to buy and sell allowances that permit them to emit only a certain amount. Trading gives companies a strong incentive to save money by cutting emissions.”

Despite the program’s benefits of lowered energy costs and environmental safety, Cunningham said that GRID has experienced some push back from traditional energy providers.

“The push back that we get from them is that they are extremely slow at coming out and approving the system,” she said.

“We pay for the plans and permits. Building and Safety for each county has to come out and approve it and that usually takes a week or two. But the utility companies can take up to six months for them to come out and say ‘flip the switch’. ‘Flip the switch’ means taking the person off the grid…”

A large portion of Cunningham’s solar beneficiaries are baby boomers who own their homes but are now on a fixed income.

GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles leads teams of volunteers and job trainees to install solar electric systems for low-income families in Los Angeles, Orange and Ventura Counties, providing families with needed savings and giving area workers hands-on experience to help them find employment in the green-tech economy, according to their website.

“Since we opened in 2007, we’ve helped over 1,120 low-income families go solar throughout the Greater Los Angeles region,” officials said.

“Be a part of the clean energy transition- become a client, volunteer or make a donation today.”

Customers in Los Angeles County can call Cunningham at 213-725-5134 for more information.

Categories: Family | Local
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