Watts, traditionally underserved, begins to see the benefits of new state investments

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May 13, 2020
A worker adjusts wiring on Sun Power solar panels

About two years ago, the Los Angeles community of Watts' level of outside investment stepped up dramatically when approval from the Transformative Climate Communities program came to member organizations of Watts Rising. TCC, an initiative of the Strategic Growth Council, empowers impacted communities to choose solutions that can be funded over a multiyear period and ensure resiliency against climate change.

In Watts, access to the economic benefits of residential solar plays a key part in the vision of what residents want. That's given GRID Alternatives and many of the longstanding partners we've cultivated relationships with across South Los Angeles an important responsibility: to find, permit, and implement systems (which will lower the electricity bills of Watts homeowners). Our work under the Energy for All banner is a great fit with this need, and we're thrilled to be doing the job. The Navarro household near Imperial Highway was one of the first to contact us, reaching out this winter, and we made their story of solar success happen in January.

The Navarro family's multi-kilowatt system was, in some ways, the perfect opportunity to show what we're doing (and want to do). The Navarros are a family living in the shadow of highway and roadway pollution, on the border of Los Angeles near relatively few economic opportunities, and yet proudly own a home after moving into town from El Monte. While the head of their household is on disability, the need financial flexibility to pay off renovation bills, put food on the table, and maintain a new outdoor swimming pool (especially as the summer arrives!). Thanks to solar we installed at no cost, in conjunction with PickMySolar, their pool is much more affordable when the heat arrives—a $26,000 value.

Once we completed installation in January, the City of Los Angeles was quick to inspect and approve our work. That means that by now, the Navarros have seen their first lowered bill! It's a thrill and an honor to help Watts get opportunities that might have seemed out of reach, especially a decade ago before the TCC program.