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City Manager's Office
Press Contact: Matthai Chakko, (510) 981-7008

Program Also Provides Training in Green Job Skills

Berkeley, California (Tuesday, April 11, 2017) - Low-income Berkeley homeowners have time to sign up for no-cost solar panel installations on their homes.

The program led by the City of Berkeley, community-based organizations and local foundations will also provide low-income residents with job training in solar installation.

In the process, multiple goals are achieved: increasing access to solar power makes Berkeley's energy grid more sustainable while reducing greenhouse gas emissions; workforce job training makes our community more adaptable to the future; lowering fixed costs for low-income households makes Berkeley more affordable for them; and, addressing social inequity addresses vulnerabilities that harm our whole community.

These multiple goals are being sought under the umbrella of Brighter Futures Berkeley, an innovative partnership with the City of Berkeley, GRID Alternatives, Rising Sun Energy Center, and Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency (BOSS).

To find out if you qualify for future projects, contact GRID Alternatives at 866-921-4696.

One solar installation will come next week to Sankofa House, shared housing in four separate apartments for 10 formerly homeless families.

GRID Alternatives will install the new 10 kilowatt solar system, in partnership with low-income adults participating in Rising Sun Energy Center's solar workforce development program.  Sankofa House will save more than $95,000 in energy costs over the life of the solar installation. The cost savings will be reinvested in services for Sankofa's transitional homeless residents.

On Wednesday, April 19, from 11am - 12:30pm, GRID Alternatives is hosting a media and visitation event at the installation site at Sankofa House located at 711 Harrison St in Berkeley.  During that event, Rising Sun job trainees will be on site.  GRID has also invited elected officials, funders and the partners of the Brighter Futures Berkeley program.

On-site services at Sankofa House, which is run by BOSS, include housing navigation services, adult and children's education, crisis intervention, support with drug/alcohol recovery, employment and housing search assistance, peer support and mentoring, and case management.

There are already more than 1,800 solar systems installed on Berkeley homes; however, most systems are installed on higher income homeowner roofs. The Brighter Futures Berkeley program works to make solar access more equitable. It is funded through the Bloomberg Award for Partners for Places - a project of the Funders' Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities - with match funding from The San Francisco Foundation and from the East Bay Community Foundation.

The City of Berkeley also provides solar resources to all residents including access to PACE financing for solar, personalized solar estimates through SmartSolar Marketplace and over-the-counter solar permitting.


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