Rooftop solar collectors installed atop the homes of selected low-income households, reducing household electricity costs by an average of 40 percent to 50 percent.
In areas like the Imperial Valley of California, the cost of air-conditioning places a heavy burden on low-income families, especially senior citizens who suffer disastrous and even lethal health effects from temperatures that can climb as high as 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Faced with high electricity bills, families are forced to make tough choices between paying for energy, food, medicine, and other life essentials.
The Citizens Energy Solar Homes Program works to provide struggling households with relief and prevent them from making difficult trade-offs. Financed by revenues from Citizens Energy’s share of the Sunrise Powerlink high-voltage transmission line, the program provides qualified applicants with a free 20-year lease on solar electric panels, including a comprehensive parts and maintenance warranty.
The program provides qualified applicants with a free 20-year lease on solar electric panels, including a comprehensive parts and maintenance warranty.
Participants in the Solar Homes Program must:
In January 2013, Citizens Energy began installing rooftop solar collectors atop the homes of selected low-income households in the Imperial Valley.
The solar systems are purchased, installed and maintained at no cost to the homeowner, with all the savings coming right off the family’s electricity bill.
The solar system reduces a homeowner's electricity costs by an average of 40 percent to 50 percent. However, the actual savings depend on a number of factors, including the household’s electric usage and the size of solar system. The homeowner signs a 20-year lease, which Citizens Energy pre-pays in full. To be eligible for the solar benefit, households must have received a free energy audit and weatherization services (from either Imperial Irrigation District or SoCal Gas) to ensure the most efficient use of the electricity produced by the solar system.
Citizens Energy uses local labor as much as possible to install about 100 systems a year.
Each year, the program generates about 1 million kilowatts hours and saves a total of 2.3 million pounds of carbon emissions - in addition to providing millions of dollars of savings for low-income households over the life of the solar panels.
It was exactly one year ago today, January 17th, 2013, that the switch was turned on to my solar rooftop panels. I was told that I no longer needed to keep my thermostat on eighty three degrees, it could now be set at a much more comfortable seventy eight degrees. This was welcome news especially when, on occasion, our summer months would hit the one hundred and twenty mark. What a difference that would be!! My grandchildren would actually enjoy their visits with the temperature much cooler now.
I knew that my electricity bill would be much less, imagine my surprise when my power went from three hundred and fifty dollars a month during the summer to approximately eighty-five dollars. I couldn't believe it!! That was my highest power bill this past summer. On the other hand, strange as it may seem, our winters here in the lower desert region can sometimes dip to a low thirty-two degrees and colder. This year I keep my home nice and warm. With my lower electric payments, I no longer have to worry about having enough money to pay for my necessities, such as, my insulin medication and groceries.
I can never fully express my true gratitude to Mr. Joseph Kennedy and Citizens Energy for the profound changes they have brought to my life this past year. I can only say a most sincere and humble "Thank You" and hope my message is conveyed to all who made this possible.
Thank You, I will never forget that most wonderful day.
Jo Ann Finley
January 17, 2014