Sunrun Multifamily Rooftop Solar Installation Cuts Energy Bills for 100 Low-Income Homes
New solar project at St. Mary’s Gardens will offset two-thirds of affordable housing community’s energy usage, providing residents with clean energy and immediate monthly savings
SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 24, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing (SOMAH) Program, St. Mary’s Elderly Housing Corporation, and Asian Pacific Environmental Network have partnered with Sunrun (Nasdaq: RUN), the nation’s leading provider of clean energy as a subscription service, for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate a new rooftop solar installation at St. Mary’s Gardens, an affordable housing community in Oakland, California.
Built in 1979 by St. Mary’s Elderly Housing Corporation, a local nonprofit corporation, St. Mary’s Gardens offers 100 affordable-living homes to senior citizens aged 62 or over who qualify as very low or extremely low income. Sunrun installed solar panels on the apartment rooftops, providing tenants with 117 kilowatts of solar power. The solar system generates enough energy to offset nearly two-thirds of tenants’ energy usage, saving each household about $35 per month on their electricity bill through virtual net metering.
“It is gratifying to connect affordable housing communities and families to a cleaner energy source and provide them with the many benefits that come with solar energy,” said Sunrun CEO Mary Powell. “Rooftop solar effectively removes the variable risk of energy inflation for affordable housing developments. We are proud to promote energy equity while delivering meaningful monthly savings to the residents of St. Mary’s Gardens.”
“Elderly citizens like myself are unfortunately often overlooked on energy issues,” said Joseph Wang, an 88-year-old St. Mary’s Garden resident. “As someone on a fixed income, $35 a month is a significant savings that will positively impact my life. I’m very proud of St. Mary’s staff for improving our buildings’ energy efficiency and making our neighborhood and community more sustainable with this solar installation.”
The completion of the St. Mary’s Gardens project marks a significant milestone as SOMAH’s first-ever Track A project, demonstrating the realization of community-backed clean energy solutions through public-private partnerships. The Asian Pacific Environmental Network, an early supporter of the creation of the SOMAH program in 2015, helped educate the majority of Mandarin- and Cantonese-speaking residents at St. Mary’s Gardens about the benefits of solar energy. Committed to providing residents with free solar energy, the St. Mary’s board sought technical assistance from SOMAH’s program administrator in assessing the property’s solar potential, leading to the identification of Sunrun as an eligible installation partner.
The project was funded in part by the California Public Utilities Commission’s SOMAH Program. State funding comes from polluters who purchase greenhouse gas allowances under the state’s cap-and-trade program and is an example of California’s commitment to reducing the climate impacts of the built environment.
“The St. Mary’s Garden project and the Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing Program are concrete examples of how we are going to achieve California’s goals for clean energy for all. As a CPUC Commissioner, I am inspired to see the on-the-ground results of what our collaboration can accomplish,” said John Reynolds, Commissioner, California Public Utilities Commission.
“This project delivers on the CPUC’s mission of ensuring access to clean energy for all Californians, and we are working to bring more projects like this one to people and communities across California,” added Rachel Peterson, Executive Director, California Public Utilities Commission.
“The SOMAH Program is proud to support projects, just like St. Mary’s Gardens, all across California. St. Mary’s Gardens is an example of a success story where a solar installation incentivized by SOMAH can be complemented by a more comprehensive building retrofit that directly impacts residents through utility bill savings,” said Staci Givens, SOMAH Program Manager.
“It’s incredible to see the SOMAH Program come full circle with the installation of solar panels at St. Mary’s Gardens,” said Shina Robinson, Resilience Hubs Manager at Asian Pacific Environmental Network. “Nearly 10 years ago, Asian Pacific Environmental Network members started dreaming up a program that would make sure that working-class communities of color would see the immediate tangible benefits of public investments in solar. Today, that program is bringing cost savings and clean energy to renters in our own community.”
“We are grateful for having received excellent technical assistance through the SOMAH program, which has enabled us to install the solar system that will reduce the utility costs of our very low-income community,” said Gideon Anders, the Treasurer of the St. Mary’s Elderly Housing Corporation. The property is professionally managed by Christian Church Homes.
Sunrun Inc. (Nasdaq: RUN) revolutionized the solar industry in 2007 by removing financial barriers and democratizing access to locally-generated, renewable energy. Today, Sunrun is the nation’s leading provider of clean energy as a subscription service, offering residential solar and storage with no upfront costs. Sunrun’s innovative products and solutions can connect homes to the cleanest energy on earth, providing them with energy security, predictability, and peace of mind. Sunrun also manages energy services that benefit communities, utilities, and the electric grid while enhancing customer value. Discover more at www.sunrun.com.
The Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing (SOMAH) Program provides up to $100 million annually in financial incentives for installing photovoltaic (PV) energy systems on multifamily affordable housing in California. The program’s unique, community-based approach ensures long-term, direct economic benefits for low-income households, helps catalyze the market for solar on multifamily housing and creates jobs. SOMAH is overseen by the California Public Utilities Commission and funded through the greenhouse gas allowance auction proceeds of Pacific Gas and Electric Company, San Diego Gas & Electric Company, Southern California Edison Company, Liberty Utilities Company and PacifiCorp. SOMAH aims to install 300 megawatts of generating capacity by 2030. For more information, please visit calsomah.org.
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Ensuring Access to Clean Energy for All Californians
In attendance at the ribbon-cutting ceremony were (left to right) John Reynolds, Commissioner, California Public Utilities Commission; Scott Sarem, Vice President of Multifamily Affordable Housing, Sunrun; Joseph Wang, St. Mary’s Gardens resident; and David Hochschild, Chair, California Energy Commission.
Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony at St. Mary’s Gardens
The Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing Program, St. Mary’s Elderly Housing Corporation, Asian Pacific Environmental Network, and Sunrun held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on January 19 to celebrate the solar installation at St. Mary’s Gardens, an affordable housing community in Oakland, California.
Solar Installation at St. Mary’s Gardens
The 117-kilowatt system generates enough energy to offset nearly two-thirds of tenants’ energy usage, saving each household about $35 per month on their electricity bill through virtual net metering.
Released January 24, 2024