Community development organization Self-Help Enterprises and Sunrun held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of a new solar installation to 60 affordable rental homes in an agricultural community in the San Joaquin Valley. The Sand Creek solar project is 138 kW and provided both bill savings and job training for residents.
In 2018, Sunrun made a commitment to develop 100 MW of solar on affordable multifamily housing in California by 2030 via the state’s Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing (SOMAH) program. Additionally, in 2021, Sunrun pledged to bring at least 500 MW of low-income solar to people across the country by 2030. These efforts will bring the benefits of solar to hundreds of thousands of families.
“I’m thrilled that Sunrun and Self-Help Enterprises are expanding solar access and bill savings to renters living in the Central Valley,” said Lynn Jurich, Sunrun’s CEO and co-founder. “This partnership is just getting started.”
Sunrun and Self-Help Enterprises have worked together to complete five solar projects to date using Low-Income Weatherization Program (LIWP) funding. Now, through SOMAH, 14 more joint projects are in development across California.
“We are excited for our residents at Sand Creek Apartments, who will be saving nearly $50 a month on their utility bills,” said Tom Collishaw, CEO of Self-Help Enterprises. “This means more money in their pockets for other necessities such as groceries and transportation. It’s partnerships like these that make a real difference in people’s standard of living.”
SOMAH has a significant focus on workforce development and tenant engagement. Each SOMAH project, including Sand Creek, offers paid job training opportunities in the rapidly growing clean energy sector.
“We were thrilled to see a tenant of the Sand Creek property participate as a job trainee on this project, as well as a student from a local job training partner, William M. Maguy School of Education of Proteus, Inc. in Visalia,” said Staci Hoell, workforce development manager with the SOMAH Program Administrator team. “The SOMAH PA applauds the coordination between Self-Help Enterprises and Sunrun to offer on-the-job solar installation training to their tenants and local community.”
Additionally, via the SOMAH program, Sunrun partnered with GRID Alternatives’ jobs training program to train more than 100 Californians in solar installation to date.
“I am most excited about the savings,” said Christian Vasquez, a long-time resident of Sand Creek Apartments, husband and father of a two-year old boy. “We can use that money to pay bills and for gas or even to take my family out a bit more. This makes my wife and I really happy.”
The Sand Creek property supports a rich program of amenities and on-site services, not only for the resident families but also for the surrounding community. In addition to a book nook, the community building regularly offers programs such as digital literacy training, GED/continuing education courses, after school programs and ESL classes attended by neighbors as well as residents.
News item from Sunrun