Low-income households spend disproportionately more on energy than other households
GRID Alternatives is seeking to draw down new state funding for solar on affordable, multifamily housing. GRID is a leader in low-income solar, installing free solar systems on homes while providing job training in solar installation, among many other programs focused on bringing the benefits of renewable energy technology to lower income communities. These communities stand to benefit the most from energy savings, but the cost barrier to installing solar panels, upgrading appliances, and purchasing electric vehicles, for instance, is too high. Renters, in particular, can't benefit from solar and other energy savings when their landlord isn't incentivized to make upgrades. BQuest is supporting a new commercial solar developer position through a grant to San Diego’s GRID Alternatives so that they can expand to larger commercial and residential installations.
Nonprofit operators of affordable multi-family housing are going solar
GRID hopes to draw down SOMAH funding for some of these projects, which the State of California established to increase the use of renewable energy on multi-family affordable housing while at the same time decreasing costs for tenants. BQuest is providing zero-interest bridge loans to nonprofit multifamily housing operators so that they can also apply for SOMAH funding, aligning our missions to support both affordable housing and renewable energy. The bridge loan can help get them from the point of project approval to when they receive their rebate. Going solar will provide energy cost savings to directly benefit the tenant while savings in building common spaces helps the nonprofit!
BQuest and GRID helped several area nonprofits apply for the newly opened funding opportunity:
- MAAC Project, whose community reach begins with Head Start and continues through providing affordable housing to older adults. BQuest also supports MAAC’s newly launched Connect to Success program which allows students (age 17-24) to engage in training opportunities for high demand jobs, e.g., green construction, as well as healthcare, while completing their high school diploma.
- South Bay Community Services, which provides services for youth and families, including alternatives to youth incarceration and housing in multiple locations for transitional youth and families impacted by HIV.