When Solar Savings Meet Renters


February 06, 2019
Community members install rooftop solar on the Rolling Hills apartment complex.

With the cost of homeownership rising across the state of California and nationwide, many households turn to renting in order to keep a roof over their heads. This month, residents in the Rolling Hills II apartment complex received 179 solar panels on their roof, installed at no-cost to them through a partnership with GRID Alternatives Central Coast and Peoples’ Self-Help Housing (PSHH). This 56 kilowatt system will generate clean, renewable energy for the tenants who call Templeton home, offsetting 1,460 tons of greenhouse gas emissions and significantly reducing their electric bills.

GRID Central Coast provides free solar installation to multifamily residents, which in turn produces low energy bills and job training opportunities for residents and community members. Multifamily solar also benefits the local environment as more households’ energy needs are met by clean and renewable sources – and this year, we will be expanding our multifamily solar program to serve even more communities!

PSHH’s Project Designer and Green Coordinator Michael Hicks commented on the importance of including low-income renters in conversations about solar. “Affordable housing residents desperately need the benefits of solar, not only for the renewable zero-emission energy source but for the stable reduced electric bill for months and years to come.” Rolling Hills II serves households earning up to 60 percent of the area median income. The new solar systems on the complex’s five different buildings will allow the 30 occupying families to invest their energy savings in other necessary and recurring expenses.

Because renters do not own their homes, they’re left out of important infrastructure decisions such as installing rooftop solar. Where solar is available, it can be challenging to ensure that energy cost-savings are passed on to the tenants. This year, we are excited expand our multifamily solar services so that more households can save money on their electric bills, and make the clean energy choice that benefits both the local economy and environment.

If you are interested in learning more about GRID Alternatives’ Energy For All: Multifamily Program, email multifamily@gridalternatives.org for a free consultation!