Earlier this year, the California Department of Community Services and Development (CSD) announced a new Community Solar Pilot Program. This program is part of CSD’s Low-Income Weatherization Program (LIWP) designed to reduce energy costs for households that are not currently able to benefit from existing low-income solar programs. GRID Alternatives was awarded $4.4 million for two separate projects in different regions, Alameda and Riverside counties.
GRID Alternatives Inland Empire (GRID IE) will begin work on a one-megawatt (MW) ground-mounted solar system in partnership with Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians and Anza Electric Cooperative Inc. This community solar system will benefit approximately 38 tribal members on the Santa Rosa Indian Reservation, as well as an additional 150-250 low-income households served by Anza Electric Cooperative. The project is expected to produce more than 42,000,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy over the next 30 years and provide up to $5.4 million in savings to participants over the life of the project. Santa Rosa Tribe expressed their excitement about this massive new community solar project.
“The Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians is proud to partner with Anza Electric Cooperative and GRID Alternatives to provide clean energy to not only tribal members, but also other surrounding mountain community members,” said Tribal Chairman Steven Estrada. “We are thankful for the opportunity to facilitate this project by using our tribal lands in a sustainable way.”
This community solar project will employ GRID’s workforce development model to allow job trainees to acquire hands-on experience in solar installation that can create a pathway to future employment in the solar, construction, and related fields. The Santa Rosa Cahuilla Indians/Anza Cooperative community solar project is slated for completion in early 2020. These projects demonstrate a unique collaboration between a nonprofit, utility agency and tribal reservations to provide benefits to the larger community in the Anza service area.
The Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians was honored with GRID IE’s Sunshine Award for Environmental Partner of the Year at our 2019 Summer Solarbration, in recognition of the tribes’ partnership in this project. Also, for their environmental stewardship to sustain natural resources and promote awareness, as well as establishing and implementing a clean energy vision to improve the lives of those on and off the reservation, while building the tribes economic, social self-sufficiency and sovereignty.
GRID’s Tribal Program has been providing support to tribal communities around the globe with their renewable energy goals since 2010.