Sunrun installs 138-kW solar project for Central Valley affordable housing community

Community development organization Self-Help Enterprises and Sunrun held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of a new solar installation for 60 affordable rental homes in a farming community in the San Joaquin Valley. The Sand Creek solar power project is 138 kW and provided both bill savings and vocational training for residents.

In 2018, Sunrun made a commitment to develop 100 MW of solar power on affordable multifamily homes in California by 2030 through the state’s Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing. (SOMAH) program. In addition, in 2021 Sunrun promised to at least 500MW of low-income solar energy for people across the country by 2030. These efforts will bring the benefits of solar energy to hundreds of thousands of families.

“I’m excited that Sunrun and Self-Help Enterprises are extending solar access and bill savings to tenants living in the Central Valley,” said Lynn Jurich, CEO and co-founder of Sunrun. “This collaboration has only just begun.”

Sunrun and Self-Help Enterprises have teamed up to date to complete five solar projects using Low-Income Weatherization Program (LIWP) funding. Now there are 14 more collaborative projects in development throughout California through SOMAH.

“We are excited to see our Sand Creek Apartments residents save nearly $50 a month on their utility bills,” said Tom Collishaw, CEO of Self-Help Enterprises. “This means more money in your pocket for other necessities such as groceries and transport. It’s partnerships like this that really make a difference in people’s living standards.”

SOMAH has a significant focus on staff development and tenant involvement. Every SOMAH project, including Sand Creek, provides paid training opportunities in the fast-growing clean energy sector.

“We were delighted to see a tenant of the Sand Creek property participate in this project as an intern, as well as a student from a local job training partner, William M. Maguy School of Education from Proteus, Inc. in Visalia,” said Staci Hoell, Human Resources Manager at the SOMAH Program Administrator team. “The SOMAH PA applauds the coordination between Self-Help Enterprises and Sunrun to provide on-the-job solar installation training to their tenants and the local community.”

Additionally, through the SOMAH program, Sunrun partnered with the GRID Alternatives job training program to train more than 100 Californians in solar installations to date.

“I’m most excited about the savings,” said Christian Vasquez, a longtime resident of Sand Creek Apartments, husband and father of a two-year-old boy. “We can use that money to pay bills and gas or even invite my family a little more. This makes my wife and I very happy.”

The Sand Creek property supports a rich program of amenities and on-site services not only for the resident families, but also for the surrounding community. In addition to a book corner, the community building offers regular programs such as digital literacy training, GED/continuing education courses, after-school programs, and ESL classes attended by neighbors and residents alike.

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