California Uses Cap-And-Trade System To Fund Free Solar Panel Initiative

| by Sean Kelly
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Through a newly launched initiative, California reportedly plans to give free solar panels to low-income households.

The program, led by Oakland-based solar power firm Grid Alternatives, will take $14.7 million raised through the state’s cap-and-trade laws and use the funds to provide over 1,600 free solar panel systems by late 2016. The cap-and-trade system requires companies to buy “credits” for every ton of Co2 gas they produce, according to Good Magazine. 

“It helps me and my family a great deal to have low-cost energy, because these energy prices are really expensive,” Richmond, California, resident Kiante London told SF Gate. London, 46, used the program to install panels on his family's three-bedroom house in North Richmond. “And I wanted to do my part. It’s clean, green energy.”

“These systems are saving families money every month for food, for clothes, for medical expenses,” Julian Foley, the Grid Alternatives communications director, said.

Aside from an agreement to help in some way with the installation, whether it be feeding the crew or assisting in the installation, the panels are 100 percent free. They will reportedly save homeowners anywhere from $400 to $1,000 per year depending on location.

To qualify for the program, applicants must live in an area that is considered by the state to be disadvantaged, and can make no more than 80 percent of their neighborhood’s median household income, according to the SF Gate.

“These investments will bring energy savings, they’ll bring quality jobs, and they’ll also bring environmental benefits where they’re needed the most,” state Senate Pro Tem Kevin de Leon said at a recent solar panel installation event.

Sources: SF Gate, Good Magazine

Photo Credit: WikiCommons, energyinformative.org