California is proposing new legislation to extend its low-income solar programmes with a budget of US$108 million.
The two programmes, the Single-Family and Multi-Family Affordable Solar Homes Programs (SASH and MASH), offer solar rebates for families which meet strict income requirements and live in affordable housing, while creating solar job training opportunities in a fast-growing industry. The programmes began in 2009 through the California Solar Initiative and are slated to end in 2015.
The Equitable Access to Solar Energy Bill (AB217), introduced by Assembly Member Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) and co-authored by Senator Kevin De León (D-Los Angeles), would extend the programmes for another six years.
“California has very aggressive renewable energy goals and is making significant investments in the clean energy economy,” Assembly Member Bradford said. “AB 217 will ensure low-income communities will have equal access to the technologies and the jobs from these investments.”
“Solar access mirrors our growing economic stratification,” said Senator De León. “Why should your income and address determine if you can get clean energy?”
The bill is sponsored by GRID Alternatives, a non-profit solar installer and administrator of the SASH programme. GRID has installed solar electric systems for over 3,000 low-income families throughout California and has incorporated hands-on job training and volunteering in every project.