One of California's largest utilities and a globally respected charity have teamed up over the last five years to bring less-affluent Californians into the Solar Age, and the utility says it's ready for more. At an event Wednesday in one of Oakland's most economically disadvantaged neighborhoods, PG&E made a donation of $1.27 million to Habitat for Humanity, announcing that it would be continuing it's Solar Habitat" program into its sixth year.
Under the program, PG&E has supplied solar panels for every home Habitat has built in California since 2007. The Wednesday event marked the beginning of construction of 12 new homes Habitat East Bay/Silicon Valley is building near the Oakland Airport in the outskirts of the city's embattled Sobrante Park neighborhood.
"Today, the City of Oakland celebrates yet another partnership with Habitat for Humanity and PG&E. Together, we are transforming a site that has long been vacant in this community," said Larry Reid, Oakland Council President, at the event. "We look forward to how the development of these 12 new Solar Habitat homes on Edes Avenue can change an entire neighborhood and are excited about several additional Habitat for Humanity developments in the area." Habitat has built 128 homes in the neighborhood.
The solar panels will help keep the new homes even more affordable for their first residents by keeping electric bills low. Sobrante Park is one of Oakland's sunniest neighborhoods, so residents can be assured of good output from their new rooftop solar. PG&E claims that the panels have meant an average savings of $500 per year for the households Habitat serves. PG&E's program has equipped 416 Habitat houses with solar panels since 2007.
"Habitat for Humanity's mission of making homeownership a reality for deserving families in California and around the world is one PG&E is proud to support," said PG&E President Chris Johns at the Wednesday event. "Through our flagship Solar Habitat program, PG&E and Habitat for Humanity are bringing clean, renewable and affordable energy to homes and neighborhoods across PG&E's service area, particularly to those that historically have been underserved and overlooked. Together, we're building a brighter future for the people of this state."