Solar energy is more affordable now than ever. Reportedly, the cost of solar has even dropped below the cost of nuclear now. And, in the long term, of course, solar energy is a good investment that will eventually put more money in your pocket.
But for a person or family below the poverty line, the upfront costs of solar make the technology out-of-reach.
This is especially unfortunate since these are the families that would benefit the most from the electricity savings possible from installing solar.
A great new program in California addresses just this issue.
MASH (Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing)
MASH, or Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing, is the name of the program. It is using a slice of the California Solar Initiative’s $3.2 billion pie ($108 million of it) to put solar panels on low-income homes in California.
The program’s first solar installation, on Hacienda Townhomes in San Diego, is expected to create 34,726 kilowatt-hours of energy and reduce CO2 emissions by 595 tons over the next 25 years.
This is “the equivalent of planting 23,812 trees or driving a small car over 2 million miles.”
The project is already helping out Hacienda Townhomes’ residents a ton as well, some of whom make as little as $27,500/year for a family of four.
23-year-old Omega Hatch is one resident that has benefited from the new solar panels. She saw an average electricity bill of $90 go down to $56 in August. This means a lot. “Thank God,” she told The New York Times, “because I could use the money elsewhere. I have a 7-year-old, he’s about to go back to school. Any penny helps me get what I need to do for him.”
It turns out this great project was also the 10,000th solar installation in the San Diego Gas & Electric service area.
Help Promote MASH on the National Level
I thought this was such a great program, I got a petition started to try to promote something like this on the national level. If you think it’s worth consideration, head on over to Change.org and sign the petition. [Full disclosure: I am also a paid blogger on Change.org]
Photo Credit: Port of San Diego via flickr
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